Public feedback wanted on boundaries

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2014

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The Southland District Council wants to hear from ratepayers about proposed changes to rating boundaries.

Council group manager of financial and corporate services Bede Carran said the proposed changes suggested ratepayers pay a local rate if they get to vote for a community board or community development area subcommittee (CDA) representative.

If the changes are approved, the boundaries that identify who paid a local rate in each area would expand to include all voting ratepayers.

"The purpose is if you have a vote on who gets elected to a community board or CDA, you should make a contribution to that board or CDA in your rates," he said.

While it means some ratepayers would see a "modest" increase in their rates, it did not change how much money the council collected.

Mr Carran said he was not sure how much that increase would be, but said local rates were a very small portion of total rates paid annually, and it was unlikely the increase would have a big impact on individual ratepayers.

"It's to spread the load [across ratepayers]," Mr Carran said.

Mr Carran said council staff had explained the proposed changes to all community development area subcommittees (CDAs) affected, and would approach community boards later this month.

Council wanted to make sure local community representatives were well-informed on how it all worked ahead of the draft annual plan, so ratepayers could make informed submissions on the proposed changes.

The other question the council was asking of each CDA and community board was whether ratepayers in that area would prefer to pay rates based on land value or by a uniform targeted rate (UTR), which meant all ratepayers paid the same amount."Most communities are saying they would prefer a UTR, but there have been some exceptions," he said.

The proposed changes have come following a representation review by the local government commission last year, which resulted in the number of wards in Southland cut from 12 to five.

Stewart Island Rakiura, which remained the same because it was so isolated.

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- The Southland Times

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