Environment Waikato councillors are visiting all local councils in the Waikato region over the next few weeks to present the regional council’s proposed work plan and spending for next financial year.
In its 2008/09 Draft Annual Plan, Environment Waikato is proposing a total rates revenue increase of approximately $4 million or 6.8 per cent, well below the 12.4 per cent rates revenue increase forecast in the 2006-16 Long-Term Council Community Plan.
Total rates revenue is the sum of money required from rates to fund all Environment Waikato activities for the next financial year, from air quality to water management. Work that will be funded by extra rates revenue in 2008/09 includes:
- further improvements to Hamilton’s bus services, including the introduction of Sunday services and more Orbiter services (only Hamilton ratepayers fund these services)
- control of highly-invasive plants, such as alligator weed, climbing spindleberry and old man’s beard
- animal pest control throughout the region to protect native biodiversity, maintain agricultural productivity, improve soil health and reduce erosion
- a project to understand the effects of land use intensification and deforestation in the Waikato River catchment above Karapiro dam.
The impact of the increase on ratepayers differs across the region depending on the value of their property, whether the property has been recently revalued and the services their community receives.
To illustrate, the following table shows the impact of a 6.8 per cent rate revenue increase on properties with a capital value of $350,000 in each of the 11 council areas.
|Council area||2007/08 rates
|2008/09 proposed rates||Increase in dollars and per cent|
|Waipa||$270.43||$270.12||Less 31 cents (0%)|
|South Waikato||$256.27||$263.52||$7.25 (3%)|
Rates increases in the Otorohanga district are greater this year than in other parts of the region because that district has recently been revalued, increasing capital values.
The Draft Annual Plan will be open for public consultation until 1 May. From 31 March, the draft plan will be available online, or by calling 0800 800 401. From 31 March, ratepayers can also check online to see the effect of the proposed rates revenue increase on their property’s rates.