Auckland’s rapid growth is the most significant factor influencing Auckland Council’s budget. More people and houses create additional demand for public transport, roads, water, sewage, parks and community facilities, along with all the other services the council provides. In the 2017/18 budget, council have allocated $1.4 billion for assets to support this growth.
Aucklanders want rates to be kept affordable, and find other ways of covering Council’s costs.
In Auckland Council’s 10 year budget (2015-2015) they proposed a 3.5% percent increase in rates for 2017/18. However under the new mayor, council officers have reviewed the basis of that information and now seek to reduce the level of increase.
This is our collective opportunity to have our say and to influence the level of investment across Auckland in 2017/18. Full consultation documentation is available to view on www.shapeauckland.co.nz
There are five core issues which we need to consider - click to access the summarised consultation pdf.
Reduce some investments or services to achieve a 2% average rates increase
Use the identified savings to reduce the average rates increase to 2.5%
Retain the previously planned 3.5% rates increase and invest more in infrastructure.
Business North Harbour have requested additional information as to the projects which would be brought forward if a 3.5% rates increase was adopted.
Council considers that businesses should pay a greater share of rates than residential properties, but that the present share is too high and should be reduced gradually over time. Their current policy seeks to achieve this by applying a higher than average rates increase to residential ratepayers each year, and a lower than average increase to business ratepayers.
In the 2012-22 plan, this imbalance was to have been rectified over 10 years. However, the timelines were extended in the 2015-2025 plan to 2036/37. The 2017/18 budget shows that timeframe being moved even further to 2037/38.
To put some context behind the percentage increases, based on a 2.5% overall rates increase, while protecting the rebalance of business vs residential rates, business rates will increase by $4.20/week and residential by $1.30/week. If you supported a 3.5% overall increase, business would pay $6.90/week and residential $1.80/week.
The table below shows the average impact on business and residential/lifestyle ratepayers across all options presented.
Third issue: Paying for tourism promotion
Council currently spends $20-30 million of general rates funds to promote tourism and major events. Do you think tourists should contribute or should this remain funded purely through your rates.
What are the new ways to pay for all the infrastructure costs involved in unlocking additional land for houses, without the need for large general rates increases. What are your thoughts regarding allocation of Development Contributions – should they go into the central council melting pot or should they be allocated to the area where the development is taking place.
Further information can be found in the main budget documentation, page 44, section 2.5.