New rates in Hurunui LTP
The impact of earthquakes will affect ratepayers in the Hurunui district for at least another decade. The Hurunui District Council has approved its draft Long Term Plan 2018-2028 (LTP) for public consultation. Among the key issues are new rates incorporating earthquake debt, earthquake-prone buildings and footpath maintenance, road funding and the Amberley Pool.
Following the Hurunui earthquake in 2016, the HDC was left with around $3m of debt – the balance after insurance payouts, government assistance, and external funding – due to the damage and subsequent repair to councilowned infrastructure including roads, bridges, water pumps, pipes and buildings. To pay off that debt, the council has proposed a new general rate that would be charged evenly across the district rather than target ratepayers in specific areas. The resulting rate will be $61.10 per annum per property for a period of 10 years, commencing in the 2018/19 year.
Changes to the National Building Standard (NBS) following the Canterbury earthquakes are anticipated to have a huge financial impact on the district. The council owns 50 buildings throughout the district and estimates 50 per cent are potentially earthquake-prone according to the NBS. It has proposed a new earthquake prone building district rate be established, starting low for five years and increasing over the next five years. A total of $3.5m is proposed to be collected over 10 years.
The third new rate is a district footpath maintenance rate to fund all the maintenance costs of footpaths throughout the district. An extensive footpath survey in 2017 revealed 969 faults impacting almost 5,500sqm of footpaths in the district – an estimated maintenance cost of $1.3m. To cover this, a differential rate is proposed for urban and rural areas. A fixed charge of 80 per cent will be charged to urban ratepayers, totalling $40.02 per annum per rateable urban property, and 20 per cent, or $8.12 per rateable rural property per annum starting in July.
In other LTP decisions, the council opted to accept the maximum funding available – $1.5 million – from NZTA which will be matched by council. Other adjustments to road rates will be made to ensure its affordability.