Rates bills prompt confusion

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 11:30 10/08/2012

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New rates bills have started arriving in Marlborough landowners' letterboxes this week, and the effects of last year's property revaluations have caused confusion.

The Marlborough District Council has increased the overall rates take by 3.57 per cent this financial year, but the actual rates increase for an individual property will vary according to several factors.

First, it depends on the type of property - residential/rural, or commercial/industrial.

Then, it depends what part of the district you live in. The council divides the district into several geographic rating areas. Each has different services and is charged differently. For example, ratepayers in the Blenheim urban area are paying for the upgrade of the Blenheim town water supply, unlike those in rural areas.

Every three years, independent value assessor QV Limited re-values properties in Marlborough and those values are used to set rates within each geographic rating area.

A council spokeswoman said this meant there was only an indirect relationship between the new value of a property and the movement in the rates bill.

What set how much the bill increased - or in some cases, decreased - depended on how the value of a property moved compared with the average movement of value within a geographic rating area.

At the time the rates were set in June, councillors emphasised that the overall take was not rising significantly, even though some people in the district would have large increases. It was balanced by some ratepayers paying significantly less this financial year because their land values had changed significantly, too.

The council administers a rates rebate scheme on behalf of the Government, which provides a subsidy for low-income homeowners on the cost of their rates up to $590.

Extra staff have been put on at the council reception desk to help people with their applications.

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- The Marlborough Express

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