The combination of a new rating system together with the recent revaluation of properties in the Queenstown Lakes District Council has given rise to an unforseen rating anomaly.
"What we didn’t anticipate was the diversity of impact this has had with some ratepayers paying disproportionally more than others and some paying disproportionally less. This is not what we had intended," QLDC acting Chief Executive Stewart Burns said.
The rating groups most adversely affected are accommodation and high value residential and country dwelling properties.
"The intention of the rates review was always to create a fairer system. Where we have got to was never intended and we are going to fix it," QLDC Mayor Vanessa van Uden.
The Council would start work immediately on an open process to adjust the rates before instalment two in late November, 2012.
The Rating Act provides the solution in these circumstances. The process over the next two months will include undertaking consultation on a revised rating structure that would address the anomalies and move the rates to a more equitable position overall.
Council will not be seeking any increase in total rates, rather a fairer redistribution of the same amount.
"We recognise that we have a problem with the current allocation and we will be giving priority to fixing it as soon as possible," Mr Burns said. Council will be targeting reductions for those properties showing large increases, and increases for those properties showing large decreases.
The Council apologised for any inconvenience, confusion or concern that the anomaly had caused.
"We are asking for people to pay instalment one on the basis that we will adjust their rates accordingly for instalment two. If this presents a particular difficulty for anyone then we ask them to contact us so we can agree a way through," Mr Burns said.
Hindsight is a great thing, Mayor van Uden said. "We can now see that we had two moving targets that did not enable fair distribution. The important thing is we can and will get it sorted," she said.
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