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Published: 2003-03-27 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is to rate properties around the Region as though they were all valued on the same day.

The Council has previously used “equalised capital values” for its General Rate – which takes into account the different dates in the three year valuation cycle that properties in different districts are re-valued.

That has meant ratepayers in different districts are paying different cents in the dollar when rates are struck mid-year.

Corporate Services Group Manager Warren Stevens said equalisation was a crude method of smoothing out the differences in property values between territorial authorities. However it did not take into account differences between rural, urban and commercial property valuations, creating the potential for major distortions.

Previously a major increase in urban land values in the Thames Coromandel would distort rates for rural landowners, and the percentage of rates paid between Hauraki and Thames Coromandel resulted in major variations from year to year.

The Valuer General’s office is no longer required to audit equalisations under new rules in the Valuation Act, and now at least 70 percent of the districts within Environment Waikato already have the same valuation date. Actual values at the times rates were struck were likely to be quite different from values estimated on September the previous year.

Other regional councils were also moving away from equalisation, and over the past four years the effect of equalisation was very minor, he said. Without equalisation the maximum effect on any individual ratepayer for the coming year was likely to be about $4.28 per $100,000 of value.

The removal of equalisations would also save the Council costs.

The Council has agreed that equalisations no longer be undertaken, the General Rate be a consistent rate in the dollar across the whole Region and that as valuation contracts are renewed all territorial authorities be encouraged to have the same valuation date.