Rates review already done, slight increases forecast

CANDIDATES calling for a review of rates ahead of the upcoming local government elections will need to take a stronger position to make their platform relevant.

At least three council hopefuls have included calls for a review into rates and charges as part of their campaign and Cindi Bush has gone as far as to say rates should be lowered.

Raglan farmer Alf Walker hasn't said he would lower rates if elected, but says he's committed to not increasing the cost of living.

Charles Thompson wants a serious review to investigate how the council calculates its rates to ensure there are no more dramatic increases as seen in previous years.

But the council has already reviewed rates and says future increases for the next ten years are expected to be less than CPI, or about 2.5%.

And increases on water and sewerage charges, which have risen by $139 and $208 respectively since 2011, are also expected to slow down as the income comes closer to covering the cost of running the assets, the council says.

However there's nothing to stop the new council voting for a rates decrease.

"Everything we do is up for review, but those councillors are also accountable to the community..." council CEO Stuart Randle said.

The rates review was part of a wider review of the long term financial plan which is yet to be released publicly, but is in the final stages.

So far 16 people have entered their nomination for the March 19 elections; two for mayor.

Follow this reporter Twitter @helenspelitis



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