Kapiti Water Charges = Poll Tax!By Hilary Hudson
The Kapiti Coast District Council Annual District Plan is on track to sail through the full council meetings of the KCDC in June. The natural effect on ratepayers to the words ‘annual plan’ is to send us straight to sleep. Not so this time, we are about to have a poll tax!
From July, household reticulated water costs will reflect the number of residents.
Families will suffer
From the beginning of local government, rates were based on the land value of the household property. Different rates applied for farms and commercial business. Councils now favour additional special rates, at a universal level for all.
It has long been accepted that not all ratepayers will use all services equally. Some people will only enter the libraries in Otaki and Waikanae four times a year to pay their rates, and once to register the dog. Some will use computers and wifi daily. Most will be taking out books, magazines and DVDs.
Others will use the sports grounds, netball courts, swimming pools, and play grounds. Somehow it evens out. There are no limits to the number of visits to playgrounds, books taken from the library or visits to the art gallery.
Families will pay more
Access to water in towns has been a common good. Now bigger families will pay more for the basics of hygiene, washing clothes and dishes. The KCDC writes on its website that 65% of households will pay less, which will leave 35% of householders paying more.
In Otaki town, there is a double whammy. There is no need for water rationing. Work paid for by Otaki ratepayers in the 1980s ensured an adequate water supply and sewage system. For the last 25 years these resources have been used by the KCDC whenever it suited.
When Otaki became part of the KCDC in the early 1990’s the outstanding debt, some paid for by locals on the’ never-never,’ remained on many Otaki ratepayers’ annual rates. The debt was not accepted as district wide.
Now all KCDC ratepayers, including those rural folk who are not on town supply will share the $8M meter costs. The tyranny of the majority? Watch this space.