SunLive         

Councils around the country are re-drafting their annual budgets following COVID-19.

Tauranga City Council’s new budget sees a $20m reduction in revenue and $32m less borrowing than planned. This week I’ll cover what it means for homeowners, businesses, and how you can have your say.

In early March, Council voted 6-5 on a 12.6 per cent total rates increase. Arguments for included creating enough space on Council’s balance sheet to pay for growth. The obvious arguments against being COVID-19 on the horizon, who pays for growth, and who benefits. Prior to Lockdown, the increase was reduced to 7.6 per cent and as of today we’re consulting on 4.7 per cent.

The 4.7 per cent total increase is broken up differently depending on whether you own residential or commercial property and its value. Residents with a $650,000 home would be looking at a 1 per cent increase in rates. Those with a $525,000 home would receive a 1.5 per cent decrease in rates and the lowest valued properties in the city are looking at a 7.5 per cent decrease from last year. Conversely, residents with a $2.4m home would be looking at a 14.2 per cent increase while the average valued house at $740,000 would be looking at a 2.5% per cent increase.

Unlike residential rates, Tauranga’s commercial rates are the low compared with other cities. A $1m Commercial property would be looking at an 11 per cent increase (down from more than 20 per cent pre-COVID). Commercial landlords pass on rate increases to their tenants; personally, I’m worried about the added cost at this time.

For more information and to have your say, visit: www.tauranga.govt.nz/annualplan2020 or pick up a submission form at your local library.

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris