Rate plan empowers business community

18:41, Oct 18 2012

Suburban shopping centres could soon be able to band together to champion projects in their area - and pay for them through an extra rate.

Wellington City Council's strategy and policy committee this afternoon voted to send a new Business Improvement Districts policy out for public consultation.

The policy would allow groups of local businesses to band together to form a district if there were improvements they wanted in the area that were unlikely to be funded through usual rates.

Members would then pay a targeted rate to fund the projects they agreed on in a ''self-funding mechanism'', a report to councillors said.

In other cities, the work of districts has included graffiti removal, promotion and streetscaping.

''BIDs are valuable because they enable local business groups, with a clear mandate from their communities, to develop a range of services that complement the services provided by the council.''

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Areas in Wellington likely to create districts included Newtown, Miramar, Kilbirnie and Johnsonville.

Councillors supported the idea, saying it would empower local communities.

''This is just us saying to the smaller business community, or any community of business, there is a mechanism here if you want to do something over and above,'' Cr Jo Coughlan said.

Cr Stephanie Cook said it would empower businesses to take control of the direction of their area.

But Cr Iona Pannett said the poicy did need to be carefully scrutinised, because making people pay for improvements through a targeted rate was effectively ''another tax''.

''You need to be really careful ... when you are spending other people's money.''

Contact Katie Chapman
Wellington reporter
Email: katie.chapman@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @katiechapman28

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