How your rates contribute towards making Horowhenua a great place
Published on April 12, 2023
With the cost of living high and the inflation rate sitting at a 35 year high, affordability of household expenses including rates is front of mind for everyone, including Council.
Have you ever wondered what your rates pay for? Or what would the neighbourhood look like if we didn’t pay rates towards maintaining the district? Do you know how your rates contribute towards the services and facilities that make Horowhenua a great place to live, work and visit?
"Many of the services Council provides are things we don't think twice about using. Your rates go to things like our libraries and the books you read, the roads you drive on, the playgrounds and reserves you take your kids or pets to and the help we provide if there is ever an emergency," says Mayor Bernie Wanden.
"Council use rates to deliver great community outcomes for Horowhenua - to create an outstanding environment, where strong communities flourish with fit for purpose infrastructure, a vibrant economy and strong partnerships with Tangata Whenua."
Currently, the general rate makes up 25% of your rates bill and is charged based on the property's Land Value. "As part of the Long Term Plan Amendment (LTPA), we're proposing that this portion of your rates bill be charged based on Capital Value as we believe this is a more equitable way of distributing rates,” continues Mayor Bernie.
Council distinguish between general and targeted rates. "General rates pay for organising and facilitating popular community events, maintaining our beautiful and award winning parks and reserves, our top notch community sportsgrounds, public halls and buildings, public toilets and street beautification. General rates are also used to support the community, including Civil Defence Emergency Management, economic development and community engagement."
Targeted rates make up about 60% of your rates bill and some rates such as water are only charged if you can access the services. “If you're living out of town rurally and don't have the option of connecting to the water or wastewater network, you don't pay for water or wastewater. Stormwater is rated based on urban rating units. Solid waste disposal is a targeted rate, but if you're rural, you only pay 20% of the costs. In comparison, if you’re residential you pay 80%," Mayor Bernie explains.
Targeted rates are what people usually refer to as water, roads and rubbish. They pay for water supply, wastewater management and stormwater systems, solid waste disposal, including provision of the Landfill, Waste Transfer Stations, Waste Minimisation initiatives, refuse and recycling collection and facilities. "Targeted rates pay for maintenance and improving our local roads, streets, road signs, shared pathways, roadside drainage and street lighting, running our impressive community facilities, libraries and swimming pools."
Council’s proposed change
Council has broken down specifically where each dollar goes, based on a Levin residential property valued at $550,000 Capital Value and $315,000 Land Value under the December 2022 QV valuations.
Affordability is one of the big issues we need to resolve. With 25% of our population aged 65 and over, our households earn on average 35% less than the rest of New Zealand per year according to Stats NZ. With some of the highest proportions of mortgages and rent comparative to income in Aotearoa, our community are feeling the pinch more than most.
"You may have recently received your rates letter with the proposed changes and what these will mean for you. For some, this will mean a proposed rates increase, and for others who are likely lower income households, this will mean a proposed rates decrease. You will also see that our proposed rate increase for the 2023/24 year is 7.9%. This year’s rates increase is being driven by costs outside of our control – insurance, interest rates, depreciation and contract rate increases. This means that even before doing any work this year we need an 8.2% rate increase to cover costs. To fund this increase, we will need to borrow, increase rates or both.
Visit ratesinformation.horowhenua.govt.nz and drill down to find exactly how this proposal could impact you. It is important to have your say and let us know what you think," Mayor Bernie concludes.
Visit letskorero.horowhenua.govt.nz/LTPA to learn more and make a submission.