At Last — Good News

Mayor Church lives up to his word on rates
Mayor Church lives up to his word on rates

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.

With the consumer price index (CPI) currently running at about 1.9% (down from 0.1% last month) and average wage increases of around 1.5%, (down also from 1.6%) that equates out to approximately 50% of wage/salary workers as there are many who haven’t had a wage increase in recent years, therefore there is no justification for a rates increase of 3.77%.
Although 3.77% is better than 4.95%, many middle and low income people are still struggling to make ends meet, and any increases like these are going to be just another hurdle to overcome. I cannot agree that this council has consulted enough with the community and should not be given any credit or that they have achieved a great result.
Having been involved with unions for a number of years where I have witnessed many struggling to earn a living wage only to be knocked down continually with price increases is not a pretty sight. I know council is bombarded with lobbyists wanting or demanding this that and the other but at the end of the day we must all learn to live within our means and make the really hard decisions of actually saying “No”.
We must also include with the 3.77% increase in our rates the increases for water as well, or the $8 million it cost to install water meters. Although some may have a decrease in costs associated with their water usage, the majority of us will end up paying more. Don’t be fooled ratepayers, when council says, (taken from KCDC website) “Water meters are a conservation tool. They allow householders to gauge how much water they are consuming and change their water use habits accordingly”, but does anyone remember what happened in the Nelson community?

Sweet, with the average household income expected to increase by 4-5%, no one will notice this ‘small’ increase. yeah right
They all deserve a pay rise, for there outstanding honesty and hard work.
Bring in the clowns, no they are already here.