As Mayor I am writing to the Wairoa community regarding the feedback we have been receiving about the recent rates increases.
As a result of this feedback, Councillors and I have met with Council staff in a workshop, to see what could have caused these higher-than-expected rate averages that the community is experiencing.
As a result of this workshop, and the council finance team scrutinising all the numbers, an error has been found in the financial model that was used to calculate the average rates increase of 4.9%.
As you will be aware in the Annual Plan Consultation, Councillors and I set the average increase of rates for the 2017/2018 at 4.9%, with all the information given to us by the management team. In actual fact because of this anomaly in the financial model the average rates increase was 7%.
I have to say as Mayor and Councillors we are certainly not happy that this has occurred, we make our decisions on what we believe is good information before us. Somehow within the complex system of accounts an error has occurred.
When deciding on rate increases, we take into account our community’s affordability along with the necessary revitalisation of our district. We would not have accepted an average increase of 7% when we set the rates, because that would have been too high.
The reality is, the error has occurred, so moving forward we will fix this in the best way possible within the rules/legislation.
Please trust your Council when we say this will be fixed. Your rates will be returned to what your mayor and councillors originally set them at: that is an average of 4.9%, and adjustments will be made throughout the councils planned expenditure. Please understand that the 4.9% is an average only and there will still be fluctuations above and below this figure.
Many thanks for all your feedback to the Council.
For more information:
(06) 838 7309
31 October 2018
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