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Waikato News - 2021-04-30

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General rate options up for debate

NEWS

Waikato District Council wants your views about the general rate increase it is proposing between 2021 and 2024. Should it ‘go hard and go early’ or be more cautious and spread rate increases more evenly over the first three years? The council is proposing a ‘hard and fast’ general rate increase in year 1 of 9 per cent and then 3.5 per cent for year 2 and 3 of the plan. The other option sets the general rate increase at 7 per cent in year 1, 6 per cent in year 2 and 4 per cent in year 3. “We are proposing ways to respond to the district’s growth and changing community and regulatory expectations. “Managing these, against a background of uncertain economic and social conditions and our Covid-19 recovery, is not going to be easy,” a statement from the council says. The council’s preferred option is to have a one-off larger increase in year 1 as this provides a slightly lower level of debt over 10 years and would cost ratepayers less across the first three years. The other option is to have a slightly lower increase in year 1, followed by two more years of moderate increases. This option results in a slightly higher level of debt across the 10-year period and slightly higher costs across the first three years, but has a smaller increase in year 1. Waikato district mayor Allan Sanson says the district needs to balance what it can deliver with what is affordable in terms of rates and debt. Feedback on the district’s 10-year plan closes on May 7.

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