|Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris
Last week, our colleagues next door at the Western Bay of Plenty District Council made headlines for charging the highest rates in the country. But how does Tauranga City Council compare? Superficially, very well; the media picked up that the average TCC rates are $2489 versus $3234 for WBOPDC. However, dig a little deeper and you'll find we have no cause to gloat either.
There are too many differences between the way a city and a district deliver infrastructure and services for the comparison with our neighbours to be useful. What we should be doing is comparing Tauranga with New Zealand's other cities and in particular, the six largest. The Taxpayers' Union compared the averages rates of every council in the country and found that Tauranga has the highest rates of any major city in New Zealand: fact.
Even if you include all the smaller cities such as Palmerston North ($2283) and Napier ($1870) we are second only to Porirua ($2612). If you factor in that many councils have a weekly rubbish collection or funding for a museum included in their rates but Tauranga does not, we stand out even further.
In addition to having the highest rates, we take a higher proportion of our rates from residential homeowners versus commercial properties than other cities. We also take a higher proportion of rates from lower value homeowners than other cities do too. Over the next few months we'll be looking at whether this is fair and what changes we can make in council's 10-year budget.