Committee Agrees to 3.1 Percent Average Rates Increase for 2010/11

4 June 2010

Wellington City Council's Strategy and Policy Committee this week approved a range of initiatives and changes for the coming financial year that will result in an average rates increase of 3.13 percent - the lowest overall increase for seven years.

The revised 2010/11 plan still has to be finally debated and approved by the full Council on Friday 25 June.

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, which was agreed last year following extensive consultation.

The actual rates bill for an individual property will vary depending on the changes in capital value and on the effect of the rates differential between businesses and households. However, on average, the residential sector faces a 5.75 percent real rates increase while the impact on the city's commercial sector will be near zero.  

The rates differential (currently 3.45:1 and moving to 3.1:1 in 2010/11) is the ratio that determines how much of the general rates take the commercial and residential sectors pay. Commercial ratepayers still heavily subsidise residential ratepayers by something like $33 million a year but the Council is committed to reducing that burden by continuing to gradually shift the rating differential to a fairer level.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast says the annual plan for 2010/11 will enable the Council to 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," 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."

Mayor Prendergast says the Council was very conscious that many businesses and people were still under considerable pressure despite the improving economy, and worked hard to keep the rates rise as low as possible.

"We appreciated hearing from everyone who made written or oral submissions and that feedback did influence the decisions and changes we made."

Decisions

Some of the decisions made include:

  • Pools

Boosting grants funding to assist schools wanting to upgrade their pools from the $500,000 over two years that was originally proposed, to a total of $2 million over three years.

The initiative is one of a number planned to help meet the citywide demand for pool space for learn-to-swim and aquatic sports.

Improvements to Council-owned pools were also approved. These include a new dedicated hydrotherapy pool at the Aquatic Centre in Kilbirnie, new indoor teaching pools at Keith Spry Pool and Karori Pool, a new roof for Tawa Pool and improvements for Thorndon Pool. The Council will also spend $60,000 looking at the feasibility of a possible new 10-lane pool for aquatic sports at the Aquatic Centre and other facilities to meet future demands for pool space.

  • Rugby World Cup 2011

Approving funding for the Rugby World Cup 2011 village and sculpture on the waterfront.

  • Climate Change

Approving the draft Climate Change Action Plan (subject to some changes), which means a range of initiatives to help the city reduce its emissions and prepare for the likely effects of climate change, will go ahead.

  • Community Facilities

Approving the Community Facilities Policy and Implementation Plan (subject to some changes). This will pave the way for a number of upgrades and improvements to libraries and community facilities, including a feasibility study for a bigger, new Johnsonville library.