Rate rise of 9.9 per cent sought

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 12:00 10/03/2014

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Rates are proposed to rise by an average of 9.92 per cent this year in Horowhenua, with the "targeting" of lower socio-economic areas angering Grey Power.

Horowhenua's draft Annual Plan for 2014/15 will be put in front of the district council on Wednesday, with consultation on the document set to go through until June.

In the plan's current form, rates are proposed to increase for most, with Shannon, Tokomaru, Foxton Beach and Waitarere Beach staring down the barrel of the biggest hikes.

Residents of those towns are looking at rates rises in excess of 15 per cent.

Levin residents are looking at rises between 5.9 per cent and 13 per cent, and Foxton residents about 13 per cent.

Areas of Horowhenua classed as rural residential are facing increases of more than 17 per cent, while those classified rural are likely to get a decrease in rates.

Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton said he was confident the proposed plan retained both financial prudence and high-quality services for the district.

"The rate increase, while high, is realistically what is required to ensure we are following a long-term plan on behalf of the community that promises financial prudence and sustainability," Mr Clapperton said.

"The overall rate requirement for the coming year actually shows a decrease of 0.47 per cent to that projected for year 3 of the Long Term Plan."

Horowhenua Grey Power local government spokesman Lew Rohloff said the council's rating policy was concerning.

"This is one more step down the sorry path that is rates in Horowhenua.

"We were told to expect increases of this magnitude in the Long Term Plan but the way they are proposing to distribute it will put a greater burden on the sector of the community that can barely afford the rating requirement as it is.

"At the moment they're expecting the ratepayers least able to pay to carry the lion's share of the district's revenue gathering.

"That is unsustainable."

Those in rural Horowhenua, particularly farmers who had a good season, should not also get rates decreases, Mr Rohloff said.

"It's just completely out of balance."

The public can access the draft Annual Plan for 2014/2015 online at horowhenua.govt.nz, or alternatively, at council service centres in Levin, Shannon and Foxton.

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- Manawatu Standard

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