28 Jun 2011

Dunedin City Council approves 7.7% rates increase

7:53 am on 28 June 2011

Dunedin City Council has approved rates rises of 7.7% despite fears of growing debt.

A council meeting on Monday afternoon approved the increase for the coming year.

Rates in the city have risen by more than 12% in the past two years.

The council says the increases are necessary to fund major upgrades of the Town Hall, main theatre, Otago Settlers Museum and sewage treatment plant and also to pay for a $1 million jump in insurance because of the Canterbury earthquakes.

Dunedin City Council says rates must go up 7.7% to fund major

Only one councillor voted against the rise.

During the debate, Lee Vandervis called the annual plan a sham, and said it had become impossible for the council to balance its books.

The youngest councillor, Jinty McTavish, voted for the rates rise but said she feared the city's debt burden was being loaded on to the generations of ratepayers to come.

The average city house-owner faces a rise of 6.2% while other groups will pay even more.

Otago Property Investors' Association president Grant Roydhouse says he accepts the city has taken on a lot of debt but rates rises well above the inflation rate cannot go on for ever.

A former president of the Dunedin Ratepayers and Householders Association, Syd Adie, says he blames the region's new multipurpose stadium which is costing at least $200 million.