Carterton rates up 40 per cent since 2012
Carterton ratepayers are in for shock, with the latest rates rise for the sparsely populated district almost 10 per cent.
District residents have seen their rates increase by over 40 per cent since 2012, one of the steepest rises in the country over that period.
The latest 9.4 per cent rise is the sharpest in the past seven years. Carterton District Council says it is due to upgrading the district’s wastewater treatment facility and infrastructure.
Council chief executive Jane Davis said the council is loan funding the $4.2 million needed for the project next year and the loan repayment costs are hitting next year’s rates, which has led to the large increase.
Carterton rates increased over the past seven years primarily because of infrastructure renewals and upgrades but also because of increased costs associated with projects like the Carterton Events Centre and other town upgrades.
The most significant drivers though are the age of the sewer and water infrastructure and the need to upgrade the wastewater treatment and disposal system, she said.
‘‘Many asset renewals had to be funded from loans instead of depreciation reserves because previous councils had not set aside enough cash during the life of the asset. This has not been common practice until the last twenty years or so.
If assets are funded from loans, there will be additional costs related to depreciation, interest and loan repayments, as well as ongoing maintenance and operational costs.
Carterton resident Ron Shaw of lobby group Wairarapa Voice said it is clear that Wairarapa needs infrastructure updates as it has been neglected over the years, especially by central government.
Wairarapa Voice heard from the people of the region that they want councils to improve the way they do things, but people also realise that there is work that needs to be done, he said.
‘‘The reasons for rates increases are known but we do need to hold councils in Wairarapa to account.
To make sure they are doing the best possible job they can with the money residents give them.’’
Big ticket items like the Carterton Events Centre have increased the council running costs.