The Queenstown Lakes District Council will be asked on Friday to adopt a proposal to undertake a fresh round of consultation over its 2012/13 rates, QLDC acting chief executive Stewart Burns said.
“Council confirmed last week that it needed to review anomalies found in the first instalment of rates and we are now acting as quickly as we can to get a public process underway,” Mr Burns said.
Council would hold a special meeting to consider a proposal that would deal with inequities in rates movements for some properties and introduce a solution to moderate those impacts.
The proposal would see reductions to three Capital Value based rates (Recreation and Events, Regulatory, and Governance) and the creation of two new fixed charge rates (Recreation and Events, and Regulatory and Governance combined).
“Instead of collecting all of these rates based on value, there will now be an element of fixed charge for everyone, which results in a fairer allocation of rates, the outcome we had always intended,” Mr Burns said.
What the proposal would do was move the total number of properties sitting in the movement range of minus 10% to plus 10% from 69.5% to 81.4%. The percentage of properties showing reductions or increases in rates of greater than 20% has reduced significantly from 14.6% to 7.9%.
Under the proposal most properties continuing to be in the 20% plus range would be those that had changed for rating purposes in the last year; i.e. been developed; change of use or where additional council services have been provided and charged (i.e. water or sewerage). “What we plan to do will not be a silver bullet for anyone in this category, they should still anticipate their rates will have moved accordingly,” Mr Burns said.
“We looked at various options but have recommended a proposal that will give us a solution that remains in line with the way the rates had been intended to be allocated – as per our recent 10-Year Plan process,” Mr Burns said.
If the Council adopted the proposal on Friday, it would open for submissions the following week (10 September).
“We plan to send an outline of the proposal to every ratepayer, with submissions also available online, we will also develop an on-line rates calculator,” he said.
In order to allow for full public input to the rates proposal, Council would push out the timeframe for instalment two from 23 November to 7 December. Meanwhile ratepayers had been asked to pay instalment one (due September 21) with any adjustments to be made on instalment two.
“We would be looking to adopt the final proposal on 30 October, 2012,” Mr Burns said.
Council had apologised to ratepayers for the unexpected anomaly and was grateful for their patience over the matter.