Auckland Council today agreed its 2016/2017 Annual Budget, agreeing to an overall general rates increase of 2.4 per cent.
Following a public consultation on four key rating issues as well as local board priorities, the council agreed the overall budget which includes the following key items:
- keep the Uniform Annual General Charge at $394
- keep the Interim Transport Levy at the same level of $113.85 for residential ratepayers and $182 .85 for business ratepayers
- retain the general rate differential for farm and lifestyle properties at the present level of 80 per cent of the urban residential rate
- amend the Maori freehold land rates remission as outlined in the mayoral proposal.
The council will also step in and pick up the subsidy that will not be provided by the government and the New Zealand Transport Agency after June 1, 2016 that allows older people to travel free on public transport.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown, who led the budget process, says that this was always going to be a budget of minimal change.
“I am firmly of the view that after five years of upheaval in the rating system since amalgamation it is time for some stability,” he says. “Aucklanders made it very clear what they wanted during the consultation process and I think they will understand and respect the decisions made today and the sentiment behind them.”
Councillor Penny Webster, chair of the Finance and Performance Committee, says that the agreed budget will still provide the required level of investment that Auckland needs.
“Our challenge with this, and every budget, is to keep up with the investment required to manage the unprecedented growth of the city, while keeping rates rises affordable.
“This budget addresses that requirement and the $1.2b of investment in new for 2016/2017 will enhance Auckland, and ensure that Auckland remains the fantastic place it is to live and work.”
The budget will now be finalised and rates struck on 30 June.