20 Jun 2014

Ratepayers take hit from flood costs

10:06 pm on 20 June 2014

Repeated flooding in parts of Christchurch could result in an almost 8 percent rise in the city's rates.

Christchurch City Council's draft annual plan proposed a 6.5 percent rates increase but that's likely to be bumped up to 7.96 percent.

Councillor Raf Manji said there had been many unexpected costs in the last few months, primarily due to the flooding across the city.

Mr Manji says this has resulted in an added special charge of 1.4 percent in the annual plan which would be in place for a year.

He acknowledged people were unlikely to be happy about the charge, but the council had tried everything to find the money, and it was too late in the year to make extra savings. "It's just something we'll have to deal with," he said.

A resident whose house is in Flockton Basin, a flood-prone area of the city, said the increase will hit some people hard.

Jo Byrne said her house on Carrick Street has been granted rates remission because of the damage. She said higher rates are the cost of repair work which have to be borne by the wider Christchurch community.

But Tom Nisbet, who also lives on the street, says he does not qualify for rates remission because his house has not flooded. He said he's written to councillors asking for a rates reduction, but is yet to hear a response.

Jo Byrne said there are many people under financial stress and imagines people will not be happy about a further increase. She believed the Government and the Earthquake Commission should also help pay the repair bills.

Roads were reopening on Thursday but floodwaters lingered in St Albans.

Flooding may prove costly for ratepayers. Photo: RNZ / Nicola Grigg