Nearly 90 per cent of Waiheke Island residents will face rates increases next week but the news could have been far worse for some.
Auckland Council has imposed a 10 per cent cap on rates increases to soften the blow of the introduction of a single rating system across the region as part of the super-city amalgamation.
If the cap had not been put in place, 3494 home owners would have faced increases of more than 15 per cent and over 500 would have been paying an increase of between 10 and 15 per cent.
Mayor Len Brown says: “The problem is that when you amalgamate a number of different rating systems, some people's rates will go up and some will go down. We know the current economic situation is tough for Auckland families. That's why we're keeping rate increases under control by driving $1.7 billion in savings and efficiencies in our organisation over the next 10 years.”
Bills will be sent out from Monday. Of the 5713 residential ratepayers on Waiheke, 5097 will face increases of between 0 and 10 per cent, and 616 will have lower rates. The average rates increase across the region is 3.6 per cent which matches the inflation rate council deals with each year.
The single rating system means over time properties of a similar value and use will be charged a similar amount of rates.
“It doesn't matter whether you have a half-million dollar home in Oneroa, Waiuku or Wellsford, the view is you should be paying the same rate for the same value house,” Auckland Council spokesman Glyn Jones says.
Waiheke Islanders will see their Uniform Annual General Charge rise from $308 to $350. This is a uniform rate charged to every property to ensure it makes a minimum rates contribution.
Mr Jones is reminding older residents and others who qualify to apply for their rates rebates.
“People are generally bad at claiming their rates rebates.”
Business are facing a 22 per cent rates hike, but this will be phased in over the next three years.
Rates provide about 48.5 per cent of the council's income with the rest coming from grants, subsidies, development and financial contributions, user charges and fees.
- Waiheke Marketplace