5 Jun 2011

Criticism of council after 8% rate rise

8:42 am on 5 June 2011

the Hamilton Ratepayers Association has strongly criticised Hamilton City Council for increasing rates by an average of 8%.

Association president John Easto says people are hurting badly due to the economic climate and the increase is staggering.

He blames poor decision-making, citing a budget blow-out on Waikato stadium, extra costs associated with staging the V8 racing and an investment in a $68 million events centre when debt levels were already high.

Mr Easto says the city's debt levels will mean more high rate increases in future years.

Mayor Julie Hardaker says it was a difficult decision for councillors to make.

She says the reality is that Hamilton is facing significant financial challenges with falling income from a reduction in building and land development.

Ms Hardaker says councillors realise rates increases of this size are not sustainable in the longer term.