Download the new budget document
The budget has been adopted with an increase of 4.6 per cent in total rates – lower than the 5.5 per cent assumed in the 10-Year Plan adopted last year.
Council also consulted on a proposal to calculate rates in a different way to ensure increases are fair across all residential properties.
That’s because last year new property valuations were issued for Palmerston North. On average, residential land valuations increased by 68 per cent. For commercial properties there was a 30 per cent increase. If we used our former method to calculate rates then some ratepayers who have lower value residential properties would pay rates higher than what the Council believes is reasonable, and rates for some other ratepayers would be unreasonably low.
The proposed changes to the way the rates would be calculated have now been embraced in the actual rates that have been set for the year.
These changes include:
- Reducing the Uniform Annual General Charge from $690 to $500 for every property
- Decreasing the surcharge that applies to multi-unit residential property
- Reducing the extent of the discount given to rural and semi-serviced properties (to compensate for the reduced general charge)
- Increasing the surcharge for non-residential properties from 150 per cent to 165 per cent.
The adopted Annual Budget also incorporates a number of changes to the timing of programmes to reflect changed circumstances.
A new flag for the city
The idea of a new flag for the city was recently presented to a Council committee. Some of the reasons proposed for a new flag included the opportunity to design something that better reflects our city and who we are and the difficulty in distinguishing the current coat of arms flag, particularly from a distance. While the Council has not formed a view on this, it would like to canvass the idea with the wider community. Council consulted on this at the same time as the Annual Budget.
Free entry for under-fives to Council swimming pools
Water Safe New Zealand has identified that it is important for everyone to enjoy and be safe in the water from an early age. Council has identified that cost may be one of the barriers preventing families with children under five-years-old from accessing community swimming pools. Council wants to gauge the level of community support for providing free entry for under-fives to our swimming pools, and will consider what action to take once this consultation is complete.
This proposal has been approved by the Council and will come into effect from 1 July.
Submissions were open from Tuesday 19 March until Wednesday 24 April, and hearings were held from Wednesday 8 May until Friday 10 May.