The first bills from Auckland Council's new single rating system will arrive in letterboxes this week as the region comes to grips with the reality of amalgamating eight councils into one.
Rates notices will start arriving in letterboxes from Thursday 2 August in the north and west and from Tuesday 7 August in the rest of Auckland.
"The move to a single rating system based on capital value is an inescapable consequence of the government's decision to merge the old councils," says the Mayor. "Because of that, some people's rates will go up and some will go down."
"The thing to remember is that this council has delivered an average rates rise of just 3.6 per cent. That compares the 9 per cent rise we faced after the amalgamation and an average 5.7 per cent rise per annum over the past seven years of the former councils."
Rates changes vary greatly across the new Auckland and Len Brown will be visiting the far reaches of the region over the coming weeks to explain the changes.
"The changes are not the result of reckless spending - that is a myth - in fact international ratings agency Standard and Poors have reinforced our financial position with an AA rating," says the Mayor.
Auckland Council has taken a number of steps to lessen the impact of amalgamation. A total of $1.7 billion in savings has been delivered and a transition proposal was put to government in order to smooth out the impact of amalgamation on Auckland households and businesses.
"Prior to implementing the 10 per cent transition cap, more than 133,000 residential ratepayers faced a double-digit increase in the first year as a result of the council merger. That was just not fair and that is no longer the case. In fact, more than 187,000 households will notice their rates have decreased when the bill arrives.
"We also want to make sure that those people who are eligible for rates postponements, rebates and remissions can access them, including the newly-introduced remission scheme for residents of license to occupy retirement villages."
While there is some confusion about how the amalgamation has affected the rating system there are also other changes to contend with, such as revaluations, the move to capital value and wastewater being the responsibility of Watercare or Veolia Water. The levy has been removed from Auckland Council's bill and now appears on the bill from your water supplier.
"When faced with changes this large, Auckland Council had no choice but to forge the fairest possible path. I know times are tough, which is why we've tried to be as pragmatic as possible and reduce the impacts of transition," says the Mayor.
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