Rates rise of 2.75% not acceptable

Rates rise of 2.75% not acceptable

Wellington city councillors must go back the drawing board and cut back the rates increase, says Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce CEO Raewyn Bleakley.

 “It’s not acceptable that councillors have allowed the budget to blow out to the extent it has.

 “It was bad enough at 2.5 per cent but 2.75 per cent is simply not acceptable. It cannot be justified.

 “It is particularly disappointing that they have allowed significant new spending to creep in after the Annual Plan consultation.  

“This is becoming a regular feature and makes a mockery of the consultation process. 

“Any areas of new spending should have been funded out of savings elsewhere.

 “Council spending is too high.  In our submission on the Annual Plan, we argued that a zero rate rise or even a reduction was necessary.

“With continued uncertainty about future liabilities relating to earthquake strengthening of council buildings and leaky homes, and as councils in the region approach amalgamation, it’s vital that all non-essential expenditure in the council’s operations is eliminated.

“Businesses currently pay 45% of the total rates, and a further increase could have a negative effect on retaining and attracting businesses at a time when everyone agrees we need to be looking to do more in that regard.

“It’s important that the council does not stray outside its core business or grows relative to the size of the overall economy.”

For more information contact Raewyn Bleakley on 021 472 155