Rates rise a welcome relief for some
Some residents are not as shocked as they thought they'd be when rates bills arrived in central Auckland letter boxes, bringing months of nervous anticipation to an end.
The bills are the first Aucklanders will receive under the council's new region-wide capital based rates policy.
The move to the new model, along with higher valuations of homes in the central suburbs, means many residents in the former Auckland City Council area will pay more this year.
Almost three-quarters of these home owners were facing double-digit increases, but the council's transition policy has capped rises at 10 per cent for the next three years.
Rates bills for central Auckland residents were posted out yesterday.
Retired resident Reg Nand used the council's online calculator and already knows what his bill will be so he won't be concerned when it arrives.
He's lived in the same Mt Roskill house for 23 years.
This year his rates have gone up $200 on his house and about $200 on a rental property.
"With the amalgamation we were expecting some changes, but I was actually surprised that it wasn't more," Mr Nand says.
He says the biggest sting he's had was between 2007 and 2010 when his rates went up by almost half.
"I thought it was a big hike. I hadn't expected that - it was on the higher side. I find this more acceptable than what it was a few years ago."
Mr Nand is quite happy to pay the extra money.
"We're not just losers here. We're gaining when the equity in our property goes up."
Just over half of the council's income comes from rates.
"I could scream my head off and say this is terrible, but you've got to look at it rationally and accept rates are a fact of life, you can't get away from them.
"Nobody likes an increase in any bill, but the money has to come from somewhere," he says. "It's a catch 22 because a lot of people are struggling, but if we want to have a wonderful city, the council has to have the money to pay for it."
Epsom South resident Ken Trehearne will pay $127.74 more than he did last year.
"Different parts of Auckland could be worse affected, but it is surprisingly low. It's not out of what I would class as acceptable," he says.
"It's $ 2.46 more a week for me. That's the cost of a bottle of coke. If I have to pay that for Auckland Council to improve things then I'm not complaining."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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