Kapiti Council finally gets rates increase down
By Alan Tristram
After years of high spending, with accompanying large rates rises, the Kapiti Coast District Council has finally bitten the bullet and got the rates increase figure below even its own expectations.
It’s a triumph for new Mayor Ross Church;’ and will come as a welcome news to the District’s ageing population (Kapiti has twice as many elderly people as most districts its size). In a marathon 11 hour session, Council yesterday voted in a lower than expected average rates increase of 3.77%, more than 1% below the proposed increase of 4.95% in the draft 2014/15 Annual Plan.
This figure is an average of the rates increases for all areas, so the increases for residents in different parts of the District will vary. Final figureill be available once the Annual Plan is formally adopted by Council on 26 June.
Last year the average increase was more than five per cent. — and the then Mayor Jenny Rowan said of the 5.17 per cent figure: “We have accommodated other community requests for funding for smaller community projects. Collectively that brought the figure up, trying to cover off on other community developments of benefit to a lot of people.”
This year, under Mayor Church the increase is below the average of rate increases in the Wellington Region.
The KCDC says: “It is being achieved as a result of a number of measures including reduced expenditure in the current financial year and a corresponding reduction in interest costs.
In addition, there will be a $9.6 million (6.7%) reduction in debt.”
‘A great achievement’
Mayor Ross Church says: “This is a great achievement and a credit to Council, its staff and the community.
“The community asked us to make reductions and I am personally delighted that, with their assistance, we have been able to achieve this result.
“We set out to achieve two important goals – to find a balance between meeting the ongoing spending needs of the District for things like roading, libraries and recreational facilities and keeping rates at an affordable level.”
Mr Church adds:
“We also wanted the process for reaching our decisions to be more open and inclusive with the community.
“We had 745 submissions on the draft Annual Plan on a wide range of topics and, over three days of hearings, we listened to the views of more than 100 people.
“I believe that, as a result of the 2014/15 draft Annual Plan consultation process, we’ve managed to achieve the balance we were looking for.”
The key decisions are:
- 3.77% average rates increase
- 1.18% below 4.95% proposed in draft Annual Plan
- $9.6 million (6.7%) debt reduction.