Editorial — Water ‘Poll Tax’

Kapiti Water Charges = Poll Tax!

By Hilary Hudson

KCDC and water metersThe 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

families and waterFamilies of five or six or more; facing higher costs of housing, energy, insurance and commuting, will now have another wack to their budget. For some there may be a small rebate, but not for all.

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

Water metersAccess 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.

After my previous letter, I have been enlightened as to the formula used in arriving at the costing’s, I therefor wish to eat humble pie on this occasion and retract my first thoughts on the matter, please spare my blushes.
I do however think that it would help everyone that an easy way be issued to show how the figures are arrived at.

I am very concerned about the Trial Water Meter Readings that I have received from KCDC.
The reading for my property covered a period of 41 days, but I am having considerable trouble in trying to account for the values that KCDC have, which are supposedly for the 41 day period.
The Volumetric Charge for that 41 day period is estimated at $25.02
The Fixed Charge is shown as $46.48
The Total Charges are shown as $71.50 (incl.gst)
We are currently paying $357 per annum for each household
My household only consists of 2 elderly persons, and from the Trial Reading, I must accept that the shown Volumetric Charge of $25.02 is correct by KCDC calculations, however, if you divide the $25.02 by the 41 days, to get an average day use, this equates to $0.61, you then multiply that by 365, the charge becomes at least $222.65, upon top of this you then add the Fixed Charge of $188.50, you now have an annual total of $411.15.
The Trial Reading shows the Estimated Quarterly Charge Based on the Trial Reading as $71.50 (incl.gst). How is it then that by multiplying $71.50 x 4 = $286.00, when the above figures show that the Annual Total as $411.15???? This represents an addition of $125.00????
The amounts in the Trial Water Meter Readings appear to be so far out of kilter, just to cover for a household of 2, I just hate to think what it would turn out to be for a family, are we then going to have the KCDC taking them to court for not paying as seems the wont in their effort to spend the Ratepayers money as fast as they can in ridiculous court cases.