Rate demand is too hard for mayor to read

It's a not a good sign when the mayor can't read his own rates demand.

Hugh Vercoe, who owns commercial property in the district, told last week's Matamata-Piako corporate and operations committee meeting that he was struggling to understand his pan tax bill.

The council reviewed the controversial wastewater charge after significant opposition, but rates assessments delivered in recent weeks seem to have confused the situation rather than clarified it.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Vercoe said he had been phoned by concerned people in Morrinsville, Matamata and Te Aroha.

"It's bloody hopeless," he said. "We have not solved it."

Councillor Ash Tanner said: "It seems to be so messy. It is hitting people that don't deserve to be hit."

Questioning the timing of the move, Cr Leonie Tisch said: "It's not good business. We should've delayed it a year."

Morrinsville travel consultant Brett Johnstone said he had seen two or three rates bills, including businesses and a school, and all were "very difficult to understand. Two had mistakes".

He believes the whole concept had not been well thought through by the council. "Why implement it?"

Greg Marshall, who operates an accommodation business in Te Aroha, said he had been inundated with people concerned at not only the pan tax but also council spending and mismanagement.

Council chief executive officer Don McLeod said: "Unfortunately, the rates bills don't show the remission as clearly we would like."

Council chief executive officer Don McLeod said: "They were done this way to meet our obligations under the Rating Act, and we are looking at ways to make this clearer in the future.

"We can assure people that the remissions have been applied and that all ratepayers affected by pan charges are being charged the lowest option available to them," he said. "We will also post letters to the individual ratepayers affected to help explain the changes to their rates bills."

Mr McLeod said those paying for wastewater based on the number of pans at their property will receive a discount of two-thirds of the amount shown alongside the number of pans on the back of their rates bill.

Properties that have had a water meter for more than a year are likely to see a discount on the front of their bill of more than two-thirds, because they are being charged based on their actual water consumption. Properties that have recently had a water meter installed will be rated based on the number of pans (with the two-thirds discount) for the first three rates payments.

Mr McLeod said that for the fourth payment (May 2013), the council would analyse their water use data and if it proved that their impact on the wastewater system was less than the council has charged them for, they will receive a credit on their rates account.

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Waikato Times