Tauranga residents will see a rates increase of 13.7 per cent this year, to help fund infrastructure and the Tauranga civic precinct.
The increase was adopted by the commissioners at a Tauranga City Council meeting today that finalised the annual plan and long-term plan amendment.
Commission chair Anne Tolley says they are making “great progress” with the community making sure they pay their fair share of rates.
Tolley says when commissioners started, the community was “quite resentful of growth and feeling they were bearing all of the costs of it”.
“We’re working towards ensuring most people are paying their fair share of rates.
“We are gradually getting there. We're not there completely, but this is making progress.”
Part of this “fair share” has involved raising the rates the commercial sector pay through increasing the differential, meaning the commercial sector will pay a larger portion of rates than residential property owners.
Development contributions have also increased in some areas of the city, and the commercial sector will pay a higher targeted transport rate.
Commercial ratepayers will pay $3.33 for every dollar a residential ratepayer does.
The rates increases are broken down into a weekly dollar amount for each residential bracket.
Homeowners with a capital value of $495,000 (low residential) will pay $3.49 extra per week, a capital value of $790,000 will see an increase of $4.18, a $980,000 capital value will attract a $4.82 increase.
The upper quartile owners with a value of $1.2 million will pay $4.62 more each week and high residential with a value in excess of $3.5 million will pay $8.11 extra a week.
A commercial property in the lower quartile with a value of $865,000 will pay $18.55 extra per week in rates.
The median commercial band will pay $30.21 more, upper quartile properties of $3.3 million will pay $61.50.
High commercial properties with a capital value of more than $41 million will see an increase of $715.82 each week.
Commissioner Shadrach Rolleston says they are mindful of rising costs and inflation, and it would be easy to “pull back”.
Rolleston says what is required, does need “significant investment”.
“I don't think we can push pause or hold back in terms of the investment.”
A Local Democracy Reporting investigation into the country’s 67 council’s rates show Tauranga’s residential rates increase is high compared to other cities in New Zealand.
Auckland’s proposed rates increase was 3.5 per cent, Hamilton 4.9 per cent and Wellington 8.9 per cent.
The highest proposed rates increase was Mackenzine District Council at 17.3 per cent.
The average rates increase was 6.73 per cent the lowest was the Chatham Islands Council with a 2.5 per cent increase.
The data is current as of May 2022.
An artist’s of impression of Te Manawataki o Te Papa. Image: Tauranga City Council/Supplied.
Green light for civic precinct
Adopting the amended long-term plan confirmed the build of the $304 million Tauranga Civic precinct.
Te Manawataki o Te Papa will occupy the area between Wharf Street and Hamilton Street. It includes a library, museum, civic whare (a venue for council and community meetings), an exhibition space and upgrading Baycourt Community and Arts Centre.
Masonic Park will also be upgraded and connections to the water will be improved through a waterfront reserve.
Commissioner Bill Wasley is “really delighted” by the investment in upgrading Dive Crescent and the waterfront reserve.
Ratepayers will be expected to pay $150 million toward the precinct, the balance will come from asset recycling and grants.
Tolley says when the commissioners arrived, the CBD was “actually in a bit of shambles”.
“It was quite sad for people who live here to see their centre city in such decay.”
She says the “massive $300 million project” has caused “huge excitement, optimism and confidence” in the city centre.
“So much so that we are seeing private enterprise now committing to about $1.2 billion in investment themselves.
“The role of city leaders is to create environments that people want to be in.”
-Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.