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Council Plan Good, Rating System Needs More Work

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Council Plan Good, Rating System Needs More Work

Rotorua City Council got a qualified 'thumbs up' from business at its hearings today on its long term plan.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) or EMA representing 285 businesses in the city today congratulated the council on its Draft Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) but recommended the council to do more work on Rotorua's rating system.

"EMA commends Rotorua City for keeping tight control on costs and on the low, overall increases proposed for rates," said EMA executive officer Peter Atkinson.

"A rates increase of two per cent in the coming year, with user fee increases in line with the Consumer Price Index are creditable efforts.

"Business applauds the council's excellent plan to keep rates increases in line with inflation for the next 10 years," he said.

"Its pleasing to note Rotorua City is making organisation-wide efficiency gains while committed to retaining service levels. The council is doing what all businesses must do in these tough times, and it's helpful.

"On capital expenditure it's a different story. Council should not defer spending on capital works projects since the investment is critical to enhance regional productivity. Deferring it just creates a backlog that must be dealt with in future.

"Besides capital works are likely to be competitively priced at present.

"So we encourage the council to review its programme of capital works to ensure projects contributing to the growth of the city or increasing its efficiency still proceed. This applies for example to developing the lakefront and buying the Whakarewarewa forest cutting rights.

"Business also has reservations about the council's decision to move only part way towards full capital value of property for calculating rates, for example, by instituting a targeted rate on business properties to fund business and economic development, and using a much lower land value rate than before.

"While we accept major changes must be phased in, if council had moved fully to base rates on capital value (not land value) it would have been possible to do away entirely with the Business Rating Differential, which is a continuing sore point with business owners."

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