Greater Wellington Regional Council has decided at its meeting to increase its income from rates and levies by 1.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has decided at its meeting to increase its income from rates and levies by 1.72% for the 2010/11 financial year. This decision follows the recent process of public submissions and hearings in response to the Council’s Proposed Annual Plan for the 2010/11 financial year.

The increase is an average across all properties in the region, so some residents will pay more or less than this amount, depending on the level of targeted rates for work such as flood management schemes or transport, as well as changes in local property valuations.

The 1.72% figure is made up of all Greater Wellington’s rates across the region and the water levy that is charged to Upper Hutt, Hutt, Porirua and Wellington cities. The increase in overall rates revenue, without the water levy being included, is 2.23% across the region. No increase in the Council’s water levy is proposed for 2010/11.

The 2.23% increase in the property rate is significantly less than the 10.9% increase signalled in Greater Wellington’s 2010/11 Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP). The proposed zero increase in the water levy is less than the 5.5% increase signalled in the LTCCP.

The Government’s decision to increase GST from 12.5% to 15% from 1 October 2010, announced in the recent Budget, will add further to these increases. Rates payments’ instalments prior to 1 October will have GST applied at 12.5%. Rates instalments made after that date will have GST applied at 15%.

“Ratepayers who choose to do so can pay all of their financial year’s rates prior to 1 October and pay GST of 12.5% on the total amount,” Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Chair Fran Wilde said.

“Risks to the Council being able to deliver its proposed budget for the forthcoming year include movements in oil prices and interest rates, rail track access charges and infrastructure costs, lower income from consents, higher than expected inflation, and natural disasters such as floods.

“Council has been very prudent in closely reviewing all of its costs and still maintaining the levels of services that our ratepayers and communities expect. We will remain very watchful of our finances through what will be a particularly demanding year,” Fran Wilde said.