Letter: Costs to ratepayers

Last updated 12:09 18/02/2013

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OPINION: In a recent article (January 24) Cr Darren Ludlow was reported appealing to the Southland District Council to honour an agreement to increase its grant to the regional heritage rate to help fund the alterations to the Southland Museum and Art Gallery and hoping that the Invercargill and Gore councils would do the same.

He mentioned that Environment Southland, too, would be approached for a contribution.

This struck me as just more evidence of the disconnect between ratepayers and councils that beset some local body politicians.

Any payments made by a local authority come ultimately from its ratepayers.

Expecting ES to contribute to the regional heritage rate overlooks the fact that the same ratepayers will already be contributing through their own councils, the Invercargill City Council, Southland District Council or Gore District Council.

In effect it would be clipping the same ratepayers' ticket/pocket twice for the same thing.

Collecting the money through different agencies doesn't lessen the pain.

The Healthy Homes Scheme is an example of this double dipping.

ICC ratepayers are levied $50,000 annually through their rates and again with another $50,000 from their Electricity Invercargill Ltd (EIL) profits.

Those in The Power Company area contribute an extra $50,000 from their annual discount.

This blind spot afflicting both those seeking and those granting public money focusing solely on "the council" as the great provider, is a PC way of blotting out the reality that the wherewithal is in fact coming from the hard-pressed ratepayers.

ALAN SWALLOW
Invercargill

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