Re­gional rates set to rise

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Waikato re­gional coun­cil­lors have kept the pro­posed rate rise at un­der 3 per cent for the 2017-18 an­nual plan.

The de­ci­sion was made fol­low­ing new in­for­ma­tion from staff on cost in­creases.

The rate of in­crease pro­posed is 2.9 per cent compared to an ear­lier sug­gested an­nual plan fig­ure of 2.6 per cent made pub­lic in Fe­bru­ary.

It is due to be for­mally adopted in June.

The 2.9 per cent en­ables the main­te­nance of es­sen­tial ser­vices and ac­com­mo­dates new cost pres­sures, par­tic­u­larly for in­creased de­pre­ci­a­tion in flood pro­tec­tion as­sets as a re­sult of as­set reval­u­a­tion in­creases, chair­man Alan Liv­ingston said.

‘‘Coun­cil­lors worked hard to keep the over­all rate of in­crease at a rea­son­able level. We’ve had av­er­age rises at 0.3 per cent over the past four years.’’

‘‘But we have had to go over that for next year to main­tain cur­rent ser­vices as best we can in the face of sig­nif­i­cant new cost pres­sures.

‘‘I think the 2.9 per cent rise strikes a good bal­ance be­tween keep­ing rates down as much as we can while pro­vid­ing im­por­tant ser­vices, es­pe­cially ones fo­cused on keep­ing the com­mu­nity and the en­vi­ron­ment safe.’’

The big­gest ex­tra item was an es­ti­mated ex­tra $530,000 for de­pre­ci­a­tion. This pri­mar­ily re­lates to flood pro­tec­tion in the Wai­hou and Pi­ako rivers zones af­ter flood­ing there.

‘‘Coun­cil­lors worked hard to keep the over­all rate of in­crease at a rea­son­able level.’’ Alan Liv­ingston

SUP­PLIED

Pas­tures flooded near the Pi­ako River in April.

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