Regional ratepayers will get a separate rates notice for Environment Waikato rates this year, and more information about how rates are used.
Environment Waikato rates used to be collected on the Council’s behalf by the 12 city or district Councils around the Region. However a change in the Local Government (Rating) Act means territorial authorities are no longer required to collect rates on behalf of Regional Councils.
The rates account which ratepayers will receive in early August is not a new charge. It will simply come directly from Environment Waikato instead of as part of district or city council rates invoices.
Under the new law, all local authorities, including Regional Councils, are now required to provide a rating assessment which shows how rates for each property were calculated, and a rating invoice which details how much is owed.
Corporate Services Group Manager Warren Stevens says the new system will be much more transparent for ratepayers.
“Before, rates from the local Council and from Environment Waikato were combined on the same invoice, which was very confusing. You’ll now be able to see exactly how much Environment Waikato charges and for what.
“In many cases people weren’t aware of what they were paying to Environment Waikato because it was combined with their district or city rates invoice. The majority of our 166,000 ratepayers pay less than $250 each year in rates,” he says.
“The decision to manage our own rates collection was only taken after Councillors were assured that current collection costs of around $1.8 million would not increase, in fact it may be slightly less.”
The new Rating Act also requires that all rating information be included in the Draft Annual Plan and rates will now be adopted as part of Plan deliberations instead of being struck separately.
Ratepayers will be able to comment on rates by making a submission to the Draft Annual Plan. They will also be able to see just what their own rates will be on Environment Waikato’s website, www.ew.govt.nz by inserting the valuation number of their property.