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Rating churches and speedway plans dominate committee discussion

Published: 22 November 2018

Auckland Council’s Finance and Performance Committee has agreed to defer rates increases for religious use properties for one year. The council also agreed the rating treatment for parts of religious use properties that are rateable, subject to further public consultation. 

The second significant item on the committee agenda was an in-depth discussion on the relocation of speedway at Western Springs to Colin Dale Park. The following is a digest of decisions made.

The agenda is available on Auckland Council’s website and minutes will be added once confirmed. This meeting was also webcast on the council’s website and items are available on demand. Items 1-4 were administrative items.

Item 5: Public Input

The committee heard from representatives from churches and church groups on the matter up for consideration in item 5 (Rating of religious properties) and speedway sector representatives speaking to item 12 (Update on Speedway Relocation).

Item 6: Local Board Input

The Howick Local Board spoke against the proposed disposal of 34 Moore Street, Howick.

Item 8: Rating of religious properties

The committee agreed to transition rates increases for religious use properties by deferring any increases to 2019/2020. This will be done by automatically applying a grant to rates accounts for 2018/2019 that will hold rates at the 2017/2018 levels. All properties except those with a rates increase caused by commercial activity will be treated in this way. Properties with decreases will still receive their decrease.

The committee also agreed to new rates approaches for those portions of land that are not used for religious worship, religious education, or as a cemetery. This will be consulted on further as part of the council’s Annual Budget 2019-2020.

Clergy houses, halls used for community purposes, not for profit childcare, libraries, offices supporting religious purposes, non-commercial op-shops and car parks primarily used for religious purposes will only pay rates for waste services.

Land used for commercial purposes including car parks, gyms, cafes, and op shops that are operated commercially will be rated as business.

Councillor Ross Clow, chair of the committee says: “We recognise the importance of religious organisations and the services they provide to our communities however the council must follow the requirements of legislation.

“We have heard the concerns raised by owners of religious use properties and have considered this as part of our decision to hold rates at 2017/2018 levels for the coming financial year,” he says.

“We have agreed rating approaches for these properties and to further engagement with property owners through the annual budget process”.

Item 9: Proposed priorities for the 2019 letters of expectations to substantive council-controlled organisations

This item was deferred to a future meeting.

Item 10: Disposal recommendations report – 34 Moore Street, Howick
The committee agreed to retain the property at 34 Moore Street, Howick for a period of 12 months to allow the local board the opportunity to work on a development proposal.

Item 11: Disposal of Corporate Accommodation, Corporate Property Portfolio Strategy

This decision rectified an error made as part of a previous decision where a parcel of land was omitted from the original resolution.

Item 12: Update on Speedway Relocation

The committee agreed to an additional capital budget of $8.9 million to complete land owner works at Colin Dale Park, subject to the council’s next Annual Budget process.

Further decisions on the relocation of Speedway from Western Springs to Colin Dale Park have been deferred until the council’s Finance and Performance and Planning Committees have discussed the future of all the council group’s stadia.

Colin Dale Park was purchased in 2003 as a future Regional Motorsport Park but development of the park (the enabling land owner works) has remained uncompleted. This proposed funding includes wider park facilities to satisfy current lease obligations and to meet the needs of current motorsport organisations using the park as well as future users, including off-road racing, motocross, BMX and Kartsport.

Item 13: Transfers of land within the Council Group

The committee requested that the boards of Panuku Development Auckland and Ports of Auckland consider the potential transfer of legal ownership of waterfront land and related assets to the council parent.

The committee also requested that staff include the positions of Panuku Development Auckland and Ports of Auckland Boards in a final report back to council in December. This will enable a decision on whether to proceed to formal public consultation.