Rates bills are rising but Clutha District Council (CDC) has managed to keep the region’s increases below the national average.
A 2023 ratepayers’ report released by the New Zealand Taxpayers Union (NZTU) last week, included a nationwide league table showing a national average rates increase of $137, with the average New Zealander’s residential rate now $2780.95.
According to NZTU the average Clutha residential rate was $2299.36, while figures released by CDC stated $2366.33.
CDC’s debt per rating-unit is $3377.55.
The recent round of CDC bills are the first of four for the 2023/24 year.
They held noticeable increases for most businesses and homeowners and not all were mollified Clutha rises were below the national average.
‘‘I live in a small, 70-year-old house in a modest part of town but my rates are $650 higher than the average and $170 higher than the national average,’’ one ratepayer who asked not to be named said.
‘‘I’ll be querying that when I apply for my rates rebate.’’
The highest average residential rates remain Carterton District Council at $3938.81.
The lowest was Buller at $2155.98.
Auckland residential was $2825 and Queenstown Lakes was $3552.
CDC Mayor Bryan Cadogan said keeping rates rises low had ‘‘always been one of [his] fundamental promises’’.
‘‘Consistently for the last 10 years we have placed an extremely high rigour on maintaining our financial agenda of keeping rates below 4% average.
‘‘This has led to what you see today — to our council no longer being one of the highest in the country.’’
‘‘Increasingly the balance between maintaining financial prudence and achieving our legal requirements has proven challenging — as reflected in predicted future rises — but it is our intent to always consider the impacts our financial decisions will have on ratepayers.’’ Mr Cadogan said.
The NZTU report is collated from Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act requests and council annual reports and also shows how councils are performing on measures such as debt liabilities, staffing costs, third party payments and more.
According to it, CDC has 150 full-time staff serving a population of 18,500 in 8757 households over 6363sq km.
The average salary of CDC managers is $122,000, who oversaw a total expenditure of $52,030,488 on 274 consultants and contractors.
Increasing fuel and material costs are likely to make upgrades for infrastructure including water supply and disposal more expensive, resulting in rates continuing to climb.
Rates rebate forms are being sent out to homes and are available at the CDC offices in Rosebank Tce, Balclutha.