10 October 2012
Waipa District Council's Strategic Planning and Policy Committee has agreed with a staff recommendation against an early review of the Revenue and Financing policy.
The committee this week considered a staff report on the “merits or otherwise” of reviewing the policy two years earlier than planned in response to concerns from some ratepayers about higher than expected rates increases.
A desire to limit unnecessary spending and to reduce the likelihood of large rating swings in the 2013/14 year saw members vote against reviewing the policy out of the normal 10-Year Plan cycle.
Chief Financial Officer Ken Morris said it was likely an early review could cost up to $50,000 in audit fees alone and it would be a disproportionate response considering there had been a robust process at the recent review and the outcomes were considered reasonable.
Conducting a review as part of the next annual plan process would be costly as there would be audit fees, staff and elected member time and consultation costs to consider.
“We believe Council’s efforts are better focused on other matters to address ratepayers concerns,” he said.
The Valuer General had approved the valuation of the district to be brought forward a year to 2013 separating the impact of valuation and policy changes and staff were making efforts to reduce costs throughout the organisation which would reduce rates increases.
“With no change to the Revenue and Financing Policy we are expecting only a narrow band of rating change next year,” said Mr Morris.
Making any changes to the policy now would result in a new group of disaffected ratepayers, he said.
“In any change to this policy there will be winners and losers. Reducing costs will benefit all ratepayers.”
Mr Morris said the recommendation would now be considered by the full council at its meeting in two weeks time for formal adoption.
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