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Published: 2003-08-04 00:00:00

Environment Waikato posts out its first rate invoices this week – but the Council is not expecting the ratepayer outcry that Auckland Regional Council has experienced.

Most will pay an average increase of $4 per $100,000 of their property’s capital value. In Hamilton, ratepayers will also pay a $19 per $100,000 increase in the Passenger Transport Rate.

The amount varies throughout the Region, depending on the number of properties and timing of valuations, as well as any targeted rates paid for localised flood protection schemes or the Passenger Transport rate. Environment Waikato has always used capital values for its General Rate.

Ratepayers will also receive information about how their rates are used with their invoice, and Hamilton City residents will get a return bus ticket to encourage them to make use of the city’s passenger transport service.

The Regional Council’s rates used to be collected by the 12 city or district Councils around the Region. However, changes under the Local Government (Rating) Act mean territorial authorities are no longer required to collect rates on behalf of Regional Councils.

Ratepayers have been able to find out about what rates they could expect to pay for several weeks on the Council’s website, or by phoning in. The Council’s website also includes information about what rates pay for, how to pay, remission and postponement policies and gives answers to frequently asked questions.

“Most people now understand that this is not a new rate, but that it used to be collected by their city or district council. More than 6000 people have already been to our website to check out their own rate, and many have said they were surprised to see that it was relatively small. People are able to pay by instalments if they find the cost difficult.”

Mailing of the invoices will be spread over several days. The due date for payment is September 20 to get a 2.5 percent discount, but ratepayers can also elect to pay by direct debit instalments.