Whakatāne’s rates set to rise

1:00 pm on 21 June 2021

Whakatāne's rates are are among the highest in the country - and will increase by an average of 6.94 percent each year for the next three years.

No caption

The rates rise will fund a variety of projects, including a full refurbishment of Whakatāne District Council's headquarters. Photo: Whakatāne District Council

Following long-term plan deliberations and budget pruning, councillors arrived at an average rate rise above the 6.84 percent that was originally indicated.

Although the community supported only a basic upgrade of the Civic Centre that houses council staff, councillors voted for a total refurbishment.

The Civic Centre does not meet workplace health and safety standards, due to heat in summer and cold in winter.

Councillors decided degraded waterways will be cleaned, $750,000 will be spent sealing rural roads each year, and the council's debt cap will be lifted to 175 percent of its revenue.

Attempts to cut costs mean the council will now seek external funding for $10,000 it had planned to spend coordinating the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award, and its annual grants fund will not be increased.

Councillors removed $25,000 for Matatā Lagoon, after staff revealed there was already $75,000 in the budget, and funding for Active Whakatāne will stay at $1 million a year.

The long-term plan will be confirmed in July, after it has been reviewed by independent auditors.

The Taxpayers' Union released its Ratepayers' Report yesterday, saying Whakatāne District Council's average residential rate of $3314 was the third highest in the country.

It was beaten only by Carterton District Council's average rate of $3639 and Auckland Council's average rate of $3599, the report said.

The average income in Whakatāne district is $55,201, compared to $52,028 in Carterton district and $140,024 in Auckland.

The cheapest council in the country is Buller District Council, with an average rate of $1815, the Taxpayers' Union said.

no metadata

Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the News Publishers' Association and NZ On Air.