Rural rates rise likely

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An rise in rates could be on the cards for farmers after the latest property revaluation was released last week by the Waitaki District Council but Federated Farmers’ Richard Strowger said any increase would be an unfair decision.

Dairy, pastoral and specialist properties within the rural sector have seen the biggest valuation increase of more than 20% in land value and 15% in capital value.

All of Waitaki Districts 14,758 property owners will receive their new valuation in the post from November 26.

Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher said the valuations were a reflection of growth within the area.

“The district is going ahead,” he said.

“We’ve seen some increase across the board, all those valuations have gone up which means that there is some growth in those areas.”

Valuations are applied to the rates system to establish how they will be distributed across the various sectors of the district.

Properties with a small increase may see no change, while a property with a high increase in value would pay more.

Properties in sectors such as residential and business had shown modest increases, meaning more of the district’s rates burden could be placed on farming.

“It’s not about us using this to collect a whole lot more money. It should be a reflection of peoples ability to pay.

“We have a lot of prosperity in our area.”

Mr Strowger, who is Federated Farmers North Otago president, said increasing rates for farmers would be an unfair decision.

“It’s like putting yet another nail in the coffin,” he said.

“When you look at it, let’s say you have a small farm paying $10,000, that’s a lot of money compared to a ratepayer in town who’s making much better use of the facilities.

“I think if that happened we’re going to see some major complaining.”

While farmers understood the significance of public facilities, more work was required to meet their needs.

“Farmers are not opposed to libraries and parks. . . they’re important.

“Most of the roading in North Otago is pretty atrocious . . . they’re not doing enough.”

Under normal circumstances the district is revalued every three years, however the council requested an early revaluation to better align with its Long Term Plan.

Mr Kircher said an increase in rates would significantly aid any major capital projects proposed in the plan.

“There will probably be an increase in what we need so that line will move up a wee bit.

“Roading is a major area.”

If farm owners were unhappy with their new values they would have the opportunity to make an appeal to the council.

“As part of their revaluation there will be a full run down of how they came to that finding and how they can appeal.

“There’s much more information than whats been available in the past.”

By ALASTAIR LYNN