A calculation error may mean the Mackenzie district's average rate rise for the next year will be 6.7 per cent, rather than the 5.35 per cent the council was anticipating.
And the council is likely to be in the auditor-general's bad books after miscalculating its rates and not adopting its long-term plan (LTP) on time.
The council will discuss the situation at today's meeting, but Mayor Claire Barlow admitted it was unfortunate.
"It's not the best state of affairs, really. It appears to be the result of a genuine error," she said.
Mackenzie District Council chief executive Glen Innes' briefing notes show the trouble stems from opposition to its proposal to amalgamate utility and roading rates. The council decided to amalgamate only the roading rates, but staff made an error calculating NZTA subsidies for the next year.
Although the council addressed the error, it has caused the average rate rise to go from 5.35 per cent to 6.7 per cent for the next financial year.
By the time the council adopted its long-term plan on August 12, it had missed the statutory deadline by more than a month.
The council needed to adopt the plan before June 30: all breaches in deadline would be noted in the auditor-general's annual report to Parliament.
Mr Innes' notes suggest the councillors were not aware of the error's impact on the rates.
"If these changes had been reported, they may have taken a different view".
The councillors must decide today whether they accept the clerical error and readjust the rates accordingly or amends its long-term plan, resetting the rates and reserves.
Mr Innes's notes said changing the LTP would require a "special consultative procedure".
"The political question to be answered is whether the council considers the impact upon all ratepayers is so significant that it should be ameliorated by taking extraordinary action. There is no easy fix to this error."
A spokeswoman for the auditor-general's office said the Local Government (Rating) Act allows councils to correct mistakes in the rate.
"Even if a council has not adopted an LTP or annual plan [before the deadline], it can set the first instalment of rates based on the previous year's rates if certain timing requirements are met, so this gives some breathing room."
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