Wellington city councillors today made their annual decision to increase the rates. The new increase will be 2.5 per cent.
The increased rates, part of the city’s next annual plan, will help to pay the $18.40 an hour “living wage” to 450 low-paid council staff, which councillors voted for yesterday.
The annual plan includes $4.3million for cycleways – three times as much as was allocated in the old annual plan.
The rates have also been set to enable the council to offer new terms to encourage construction of new buildings – with a 20 per cent reduction in levies – and also to encourage the strengthening of heritage buildings by remitting rates.
News from WCC
Wellington City Councillors have recommended Mayor Celia Wade-Brown’s Draft Annual Plan, which proposes a 2.5 percent rates increase for the 2014/2015 financial year, to be concluded at next week’s final full Council meeting, months ahead of previous years.
The proposed increase meets the Council’s rates limit set in its financial strategy and in line with local government inflation. This has been achieved through a sustained efficiency and saving programme that has kept rates lower than they otherwise would have been, and allowed for new initiatives to be funded.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the 2014/2015 Draft Annual Plan is a transformative plan, sustaining the Council’s level of services while taking action in key areas to improve the quality of life in Wellington.
“The plan improves transportation choices, streamlines processes to encourage development, and provides better governance for our organisations focussed on growing the economy and increasing our rating base.
“It is an action-focussed programme, which delivers new initiatives while maintaining our commitment to provide value for money and keep rates rises within the limits we imposed in our Long Term Plan,” she said.
Key projects are:
a change in Development Contributions aimed at stimulating growth
a funding package to further advance the city’s earthquake strengthening
aligning several Council Controlled Organisations to boost tourism and the local economy
a scheme to transform cycling in the city
a living wage-rate for council employees.
Deputy Mayor, and Chair of the Council’s Governance, Finance and Planning Committee, Justin Lester, says that the plan sets the momentum for a Council focussed on implementing its agreed strategy.
“We’ve managed to balance the budget, keeping rates at an affordable level for business and residential ratepayers, all while adding to what the city already offers,” he said.
The Draft Annual Plan will go out for public consultation from 11 February to 11 March 2014 after being formally adopted at a Council meeting on 19 December.
Key proposals for the Draft Annual Plan were announced last week, covering strategic cycleways and safety, CCO reorganisation, measures to encourage construction of new buildings and earthquake strengthening, and the Living Wage. You can find these announcements here: http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/news