Submissions on Wairoa rates reflect local concerns

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AFTER months of angst, progress is being made on a controversial new policy that has raised fears about a rates hike for Wairoa ratepayers.

Since December, Wairoa District Council has been consulting on a revision of its revenue and finance policy. It has caused concern in the small community, especially in rural areas, which could be hit hardest under the proposal.

The consultation period ended on Friday, several weeks later than initially expected, as the council extended the window in light of speculation that the plan was rushed through over the holiday period.

Although submissions are still being counted, Wairoa Mayor Craig Little thought there were likely to be more than usual given the high public interest in the policy.

“So far it’s going well, but when we make a decision, we have to make it for the whole of the community, not just one part that might think they’re been hard done by. We have to take the whole community into consideration.”

Feedback at community meetings will also be considered alongside submissions. Throngs of irate residents turned out at these meetings to air grievances over the potential rates hike.

Held around the township, numbers varied from more than 150 at the first meeting in Nuhaka, to about 30 at one in Wairoa.

Mr Little said complication of the rating system meant a lot of residents had been confused about the policy, and how it could affect them.

“It has been quite a hard one. A lot of people got it wrong. They thought we were trying to get more rates out of the community but all we’re doing is looking at how we spread the rates across the community.”

The proposal would simplify the council’s complicated rating system. Law required the council to consider it ahead of the Long-Term Plan 2018-2028 process.

While many properties in Wairoa would see a decrease in rates under the proposed changes, there could be significant increases at Mahia and other rural areas, which has caused an uproar in the small coastal community.

Mahia resident Bill Shortt said residents were informed they could be in line for rate increases of up to 50 percent in the 2018-19 year.

“It’s highway robbery,” he said.

Locals felt very bitter because Mahia’s infrastructure was not up to standard and they did not use the township’s services much.

“The rates would be so high, it might force people away from here.”

• The WDC proposal can be viewed at the Wairoa District Council office in Queen St, the Wairoa iSite or the Wairoa Public Library, or on wairoadc.govt.nz.

— Hawke’s Bay Today

AFTER months of angst, progress is being made on a controversial new policy that has raised fears about a rates hike for Wairoa ratepayers.

Since December, Wairoa District Council has been consulting on a revision of its revenue and finance policy. It has caused concern in the small community, especially in rural areas, which could be hit hardest under the proposal.

The consultation period ended on Friday, several weeks later than initially expected, as the council extended the window in light of speculation that the plan was rushed through over the holiday period.

Although submissions are still being counted, Wairoa Mayor Craig Little thought there were likely to be more than usual given the high public interest in the policy.

“So far it’s going well, but when we make a decision, we have to make it for the whole of the community, not just one part that might think they’re been hard done by. We have to take the whole community into consideration.”

Feedback at community meetings will also be considered alongside submissions. Throngs of irate residents turned out at these meetings to air grievances over the potential rates hike.

Held around the township, numbers varied from more than 150 at the first meeting in Nuhaka, to about 30 at one in Wairoa.

Mr Little said complication of the rating system meant a lot of residents had been confused about the policy, and how it could affect them.

“It has been quite a hard one. A lot of people got it wrong. They thought we were trying to get more rates out of the community but all we’re doing is looking at how we spread the rates across the community.”

The proposal would simplify the council’s complicated rating system. Law required the council to consider it ahead of the Long-Term Plan 2018-2028 process.

While many properties in Wairoa would see a decrease in rates under the proposed changes, there could be significant increases at Mahia and other rural areas, which has caused an uproar in the small coastal community.

Mahia resident Bill Shortt said residents were informed they could be in line for rate increases of up to 50 percent in the 2018-19 year.

“It’s highway robbery,” he said.

Locals felt very bitter because Mahia’s infrastructure was not up to standard and they did not use the township’s services much.

“The rates would be so high, it might force people away from here.”

• The WDC proposal can be viewed at the Wairoa District Council office in Queen St, the Wairoa iSite or the Wairoa Public Library, or on wairoadc.govt.nz.

— Hawke’s Bay Today

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