No decision on rates plan
Mackenzie District Council has deferred its decision on a controversial rates proposal to next week.
Its draft long-term plan proposed to amalgamate the urban water, roading, sewer and stormwater rates instead of separate charges for Twizel, Fairlie and Tekapo in a bid to rationalise services.
However, Mackenzie Mayor Claire Barlow said the council needed more time to discuss the implications, and deferred debate to Monday.
"There has been some strong views expressed, and it is an extremely complex matter," she said.
The proposal drew flak from the Twizel community, and a significant proportion of the 570-plus submissions expressed concern about it.
Several people who spoke at the hearings this week said they were worried about their rates being increased, or the community board losing autonomy, as a result of the proposal.
The council proposes that rates for mid-value ($200,000) Twizel houses would jump from $1064 in 2011-12 to $1460 in the 2014-15 financial year – a 37.2 per cent increase over three years.
In comparison, rates for a mid-value house in Fairlie would rise from $1537 in 2011-12 to $1706 in 2014-15 – an increase of 10.9 per cent.
The bulk of the rise would cover rising infrastructure and compliance costs, particularly government drinking-water standards.
Several Twizel residents suggested that instead of amalgamating the rates, the council should give Fairlie's community board a grant of $1 million to cover its capital reserve deficits.
However, chief executive Glen Innes provided papers to the council saying this would have a significant impact on rural rates.
- © Fairfax NZ News