Council belt tightening

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 08:25 05/02/2013
Dog Fees
ROBERT CHARLES

DOGGONE IT: Dog registration fees are set to leap under Auckland Council’s annual plan.

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Dog licensing fees are set to rise as part of Auckland Council's cost cutting drive but it's full steam ahead for the $3.8 billion City Rail Link.

Investing in the future and reducing costs are key features of the council's 2013/2014 annual plan that is open for public scrutiny.

Residents have until February 25 to give the council their views.

Council figures show an average 2.9 per cent proposed rates increase from July but residents also pay a separate bill to Watercare for wastewater and water.

Last year's Shore rates increases were higher than the regional average because the move to capital rating hit high value property owners.

This year about 38,000 people living in the Devonport-Takapuna, Hibiscus Bays, Upper Harbour and Kaipatiki wards face rises of 5 per cent or higher.

Bills will again be capped to a 10 per cent increase and won't decrease more than 2.5 per cent to ease the impact of the new rating system.

New Watercare charges introduced last year also hit residents hard due to wastewater charges based on water use.

Big water users like large families, gardeners and pool owners got the largest bills.

Watercare hasn't set its residential fees, that will also kick in from July 1, but says it's unlikely to seek public comment.

The council controlled organisation says it would only get feedback if it was changing billing methods and it doesn't plan to.

But Auckland Council is seeking feedback about all its plans including new fees for dog licensing, swimming pool fencing inspections and mooring permits.

Mayor Len Brown says investment in the future on projects like the rail link have to be balanced with "financial prudence", including cost cutting measures.

Auckland Council proposes to increase standard dog licensing fees from $107 to $121 from July this year, reaching $134 from July, 2014.

For a desexed dog those figures rise from $77 to $87 in July and $96 in July, 2014.

Someone with a responsible dog license and a desexed dog would see increases over the same period from $49 to $55, then $60.

Big projects proposed for the Shore include work starting on Albany's long awaited $10.6 million leisure centre featuring a pool and fitness facilities. It's due to open in 2015 on North Harbour Stadium land.

Go to aucklandcouncil.govt.nz for more information.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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