No change to rates rise

Pleas from East Auckland ratepayers for changes to the proposed rating system have fallen on deaf ears.

The Auckland Council is to proceed with rates increases of 3.6 per cent for the 2012/1013 year with a Uniform Annual General Charge of $350.

The size of the uniform charge component of the rates bill has been at the centre of several impassioned meetings in the Howick ward at which mayor Len Brown has been told in no uncertain terms what residents think of his plans.

The charge ensures that every ratepayer makes a minimum contribution to council services.

The rest of the rates are calculated on capital value.

Many have asked that the charge be raised to a higher level so that those with expensive homes are not adversely hit.

The worry has been that those living in a home with a high capital value do not necessarily have the income to cope with a steep increase in rates.

The council received more than 1000 submissions to that effect, with many suggesting the uniform annual general charge be set at the maximum of $750.

But Mr Brown says that would have too great an impact on those who could least afford it.

He is sticking to the original plan.

"I am holding to an increase of 3.6 percent for the 2012/2013 year," he says.

"Increasing the UAGC would actually make a greater number of ratepayers worse off.

"There are already enough changes to the rating system outside of our control, like the move to capital value and the even distribution of rates, which will already stretch households."

He says the council is working with the Government to develop a transition policy to ensure the change to a single rating system is as fair as possible.

Under the proposal 1161 residential ratepayers in Howick will receive a decrease. But 25,023 are facing much higher rates and the council is aiming to introduce a 10 per cent cap.

Eastern Courier