Mistakes confirmed in Venture draft plan
Invercargill City Council executives have confirmed mistakes were made in the draft long-term plan document about how Venture Southland would be funded, but stress that ratepayers have not been disadvantaged.
Council chief executive Richard King said it was never the intent to load almost all the council's Venture Southland rate on to just the business community, as was indicated several times in the council's draft plan.
This was because it would have pushed the business rates too high. Also, the purpose of Venture Southland was to create jobs so all ratepayers should be contributing to it, he said.
The council had considered about 20 rating options when drawing up its long-term plan, including making only businesses pay almost all the Venture rate, but that proposal was dropped before the draft plan was produced.
"We realised it wasn't going to work but somehow some of it ended up in the draft annual plan which was a mistake," Mr King said.
Though there were mistakes about the Venture funding in the plan, there were also some references correctly stating the council's Venture funding would come from all ratepayers.
The mistakes in the plan were exacerbated because of Mr King earlier telling a public meeting that residential ratepayers would not be paying the $1.9m Venture rate.
No-one at the council had picked up on Mr King's slip of the tongue or the mistakes in the document.
"We got it wrong. We didn't have an intent to get it wrong, the intent was that the Venture rate would continue to be paid by everyone," he said.
However, Mr King said the end result was that the city's ratepayers were not worse off. The final setting of the rates was fair for everyone, with no significant differences in how the rates were shared around, he said.
Residential ratepayers are paying 70.74 percent of the total rate compared to 69.25 percent previously, and commercial ratepayers are paying 9.63 percent of the total rate compared to 11.52 percent previously.
Industrial ratepayers are paying 6.63 percent of the total rate compared to 6.97 percent previously, and rural ratepayers are paying 7.8 percent of the total rate compared to 7.52 percent previously, council figures provided by Mr King show.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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