Residents of the Kāpiti coast expect a rate increase of 7.8%. (File photo)
The Kāpiti Coast District Council had reallocated funding from its Three Waters program to reduce a potential rate increase from 12.4% to 7.8%.
The number was also slightly below the expected 7.9% increase for the third year of the district council’s Multi-Year Plan.
Officials told county councilors at annual planning workshops in February and March that rates would rise to 12.4% due to economic factors. But the councilors ultimately agreed on four options to reduce the fare increase.
This included not funding portions of the Three Waters infrastructure depreciation costs, as ownership of it would transfer to one of the four public water entities on July 1 next year, as part of the Three Waters reforms. This would reduce $441,000, or 0.5%, of the rate increase.
The council also agreed to receive $3.2 million of the first tranche of Better Off funding under the Three Waters Reform to redirect from community well-being projects to planned maintenance of the wastewater and rainwater network.
Affected projects, including the installation of a low-emission power source for the Ōtaki Pool and Kāpiti Island storytelling in Paraparaumu Beach’s Maclean Park, would instead be funded by the council’s general loan.
The move would need to be approved by the Home Office and discussed and agreed with the council’s iwi partners, but it could save 3.8% on the rate increase.
Another 0.2% of the rate hike was scrapped as the Te Uruhi/Kāpiti Gateway project fell through after councilors voted to end the previous month. The final reduction of 0.1% was due to more taxpayers in the borough’s area, spreading the burden.
Mayor Janet Holborow said a rate hike was “inevitable” and that “no resource has been turned” by the county council to keep the impact down and she was confident their plan would work for communities over the next year.
“The reality is that the municipality is facing rising costs on all fronts,” she said. “The average rate increase is not the result of new expenditure. It is driven by external factors such as inflation, interest rates, increased labor costs and depreciation.”
There would be no consultation on this year’s annual plan as there had been no major changes in the district council’s strategic direction, results, service levels and strategic resources, but the council would conduct a public information campaign.
Elsewhere in the region, Hutt City were residential taxpayers faced with an 8.9% rate hikewhile Wellington City Council’s draft annual plan proposed a average increase of 12.3% at rates. The Upper Hutt City Council has gone into its reserves to keep the rate increase at 5.81%.