The rates are going up by an average 2.9%; it could have been 4.8%

Press Release – Auckland Council
Lower average rate increases for Aucklanders are a step closer after a meeting of Auckland Council’s Strategy and Finance Committee today.

The Mayor last week proposed average rate increases of no more than 2.9 per cent for the 2013/14 financial year

That is significantly lower than the 4.8 per cent proposed in the council’s 10-year Long Term Plan (LTP) and the 5.3 per cent increase that would have been required if the Mayor had not asked for savings and efficiencies across the council.

It is also lower than the first two average rates increases set by Auckland Council – 3.6 per cent this year and 3.9 per cent last year.

The current rate of inflation faced by local government is 2.4 per cent.

The committee has endorsed the proposed rates increase with a minor amendments to the savings necessary to meet that target.

These amendments include:
• Changes in environmental environmental health food licensing fees be transitioned over five years rather than three to reduce impact on businesses
• That a Mayor-led workshop be held to review capital expenditure budgets in order to investigate further reduction in rate increases
• To increase rates for staying at regional park baches by 5 per cent for off peak and 10 per cent for peak time, and increase the vehicle-based camping fee for adults by 8 per cent (equivalent to about $1 a night).
The committee also endorsed proposed investment proposals included in the Mayor’s proposal as well as changes to some funding, financial and rating policies.

“I want to pay tribute to the way the committee, under the leadership of Cr Penny Webster has worked positively with officers to ensure we keep rates as low as possible for Auckland families while ensuring we continue to invest in the future of Auckland,” says Len Brown.

Len Brown says investment in local communities will continue to be a priority as does transitioning Aucklanders through the impacts of the government-imposed capital-based rating system.

“I am particularly pleased that the proposed rates increase does not impact on local board budgets or compromise local communities’ aspirations.

Over coming weeks work will continue to see if budgets of both council and its council controlled organisations can be refined even more to further reduce the average rates increase.

Any further changes will come back to the Strategy and Finance Committee before the Governing Body adopts the draft Annual Plan 2013/2014 for consultation, on 19 December.

The public will get their say on the proposals from 24 January to 22 February 2013.

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