Regional rates set to rise
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
Pastures flooded near the Piako River in April.