Arguing for fair rates bill and street upkeep

RATES SPENT ON TOYS: Barbara Barwick whipped this purple fidget spinner out of her pocket and asked Gisborne District councillors to, ‘‘promise me you are not going to spend our rates on children’s toys’’. The fidget spinners were distributed as part of the council’s ‘wtf’ promotion last year. The council’s ‘wtf’ stands for What’s the Future and is a play on the more common acronym What the F&*k!. Picture by Liam Clayton

Just like a fidget spinner, Barbara Barwick feels like she has gone round and round when it comes to asking Gisborne District Council for the same things to be done during her years as a ratepayer.

Mrs Barwick made a public submission at the long-term plan meeting. The Grant Road resident said she would not give up asking, and lived in hope things would be achieved.

Top of her list was a matter for all ratepayers that had “sneaked up” on her.

Mrs Barwick’s property has a granny flat on the ground floor, which will increase her rates based on the principle that they are separate houses using water, sewage and rubbish collections.

To have the rates apply for one house, Mrs Barwick must sign a council document, witnessed by a justice of the peace, to say she will not let it out permanently.

The anomaly was that she could let out one or two of her upstairs bedrooms, like an Air BnB, or have several boarders, and not get charged extra rates — yet had to pay more rates for a granny flat, she said.

“I will apply for a rates remission and I will be very grumpy if I don’t get it,” she said.

Other matters included maintenance of Grant Road. Poor drainage meant water run- off went through properties and into the Waimata River, weed-spraying contractors were hit and miss with the weeds and had to return to do the job again, a portion of the road was one-way at the moment, and a portion of curb channelling needed to be completed.

“They are all really little things that may not seem very much but if they were all done properly it would make us all happier.

“Why should I have to continue to call GDC for requests for service. These should all be part of someone’s job description and done properly.”

Just like a fidget spinner, Barbara Barwick feels like she has gone round and round when it comes to asking Gisborne District Council for the same things to be done during her years as a ratepayer.

Mrs Barwick made a public submission at the long-term plan meeting. The Grant Road resident said she would not give up asking, and lived in hope things would be achieved.

Top of her list was a matter for all ratepayers that had “sneaked up” on her.

Mrs Barwick’s property has a granny flat on the ground floor, which will increase her rates based on the principle that they are separate houses using water, sewage and rubbish collections.

To have the rates apply for one house, Mrs Barwick must sign a council document, witnessed by a justice of the peace, to say she will not let it out permanently.

The anomaly was that she could let out one or two of her upstairs bedrooms, like an Air BnB, or have several boarders, and not get charged extra rates — yet had to pay more rates for a granny flat, she said.

“I will apply for a rates remission and I will be very grumpy if I don’t get it,” she said.

Other matters included maintenance of Grant Road. Poor drainage meant water run- off went through properties and into the Waimata River, weed-spraying contractors were hit and miss with the weeds and had to return to do the job again, a portion of the road was one-way at the moment, and a portion of curb channelling needed to be completed.

“They are all really little things that may not seem very much but if they were all done properly it would make us all happier.

“Why should I have to continue to call GDC for requests for service. These should all be part of someone’s job description and done properly.”

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