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Council lands on 11.9% general rate increase for 2024/25 financial year

Waikato District Council has confirmed an 11.9% general rate revenue increase.

The decision comes after receiving 227 submissions on the draft 2024/25 Enhanced Annual Plan, with around 20 submitters speaking to their submission in person in mid May.  

The mayor and councillors spent three days last week discussing feedback and staff recommendations and trawling through draft budgets to make any further savings where possible. 

Mayor Jacqui Church said the Council had heard loud and clear the community’s concerns about the proposed 13.75% general rate revenue increase in the draft Enhanced Annual Plan consultation. The Council was unanimous in finding ways to reduce it.  

“The second issue we’ve had to consider is the district’s property revaluation process running concurrently to our 2024/25 Enhanced Annual Plan process. Quotable Value (QV) manage the revaluation on our behalf, but we are concerned that this also has rating impacts,” says Mayor Church. 

“We have no choice but to carry out a revaluation under legislation to make sure properties are rated fairly across the district. While it’s great that the average value of residential housing in the district has increased by around 21%, for many property owners, this could further impact the affordability of rates,” she explains. 

Updated values have been prepared for all 36,483 properties in the district. They reflect the likely price a property would have sold for on 1 October 2023, not including chattels. 

The average residential property value is now $721,000, while the corresponding average residential land value has increased by 22% to a new average of $401,000. 

Waikato District Council Chief Operating Officer, Tony Whittaker, said Councillors were forced to make tough decisions that won’t please everyone.  

“We know many households are experiencing financial stress and the affordability of rates is a real concern.”  

“Council was able to remove or spread the timing of some projects to bring costs down next year. However, we know that when we are developing our Long Term Plan next year, we will still need to have tough conversations with our communities and reconsider the services and projects we provide.”  

The Council will adopt the Enhanced Annual Plan on 26 June 2024 which then comes into effect on 1 July 2024.