The annual plan contains an extra $350k for street cleaning in the CBD
City Councillors have finalised the annual plan for the coming financial year, confirming services and a programme of work that will result in an average rates increase of 3.2 percent - the lowest overall increase for seven years.
The proposed rates increase is well below the 5.88 percent overall average rates increase forecast for the 2010/11 financial year (year two) in the Council's Long-term Council Community Plan.
The amount for individual properties will vary depending on shifts in valuations and the impact of a change in the share of rates that the commercial sector has to pay. On average, the residential sector will have a 5.58 percent rates increase while the impact on the city's commercial sector will be near zero.
Despite the lower increase, the commercial sector will still pay more rates than a residential ratepayer on a property of equal value. This is mainly because of the 'differential' - a part of our revenue and financing policy - that sees the commercial ratepayers pay 3.1 times more on a property of equal value. The lower commercial increase is because the differential is being reduced to a fairer level. Last year the commercial sector paid 3.45 times more.
Mayor Kerry Prendergast says many businesses and householders have yet to feel the effects of the improving economy so the Council worked hard to keep the rates rise as low as possible.
"At the same time, this plan means we can continue to provide existing high-quality services at current levels, make the most of the Rugby World Cup and invest in the city's future.
"We'll be taking the next steps to help the city reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impact of changing weather and tidal patterns, including an electric vehicle pilot and programme to assist businesses to reduce their carbon footprint," she says. "We have also agreed to take a new approach to investing in the city's community facilities, which as a first step, will involve improvements to several of the city's swimming pools.
"We appreciated hearing from everyone who made written or oral submissions and that feedback did influence the decisions and changes we made."
The Council owns and manages over $6 billion of assets on behalf of Wellingtonians, which all have to be maintained in good condition. The income we receive from general rates and user charges pays for day-to-day operations and services, from collecting rubbish and maintaining some 670 kilometres of roads, to issuing building consents, running our recreational facilities and maintaining the city's parks and gardens.
General rates fund about 35 percent of what the Council does. A further 28 percent comes from targeted rates, including a special rate on the commercial / industrial sector which funds all our events activities. Another targeted rate, the downtown levy on central city commercial properties, funds a range of things including tourism promotion. User charges fund 22 percent of our operations, while the remainder comes from ground and commercial leases, dividends and other sources.