11 May 2016

Auckland set for lowest rates rise since super city

7:01 am on 11 May 2016

Aucklanders could be about to get their lowest rates rise since amalgamation nearly six years ago.

The Auckland council building.

Auckland Council is to consider the rates rise on Friday in its budget proposal Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The budget proposal to be considered on Friday would boost rates by 2.4 percent overall; residential rates would rise 2.6 percent and businesses 1.7 percent.

The transport levy of $114 for homes and $184 for businesses would remain unchanged despite a call to boost the business share. And the politically contentious flat uniform annual general charge, at $394, is also little changed.

The proposed rates rise would be the lowest since amalgamation in 2010, which kicked off rises starting at 3.9 percent in the first year, but then declining.

The low level still allows the council to maintain all-day free public transport for SuperGold card holders. The government is withdrawing its subsidy for travel after 3pm but the council's transport agency will pick up the $3 million cost.

Auckland Transport had sought the extra funding from the council, but is being given only half, and has been told to find the other $1.5 million internally.

Auckland is the only centre that offers free travel after 3pm.

The council has found other savings in lower borrowing costs, and also by capping next year's pay rise budget for staff at 0.7 percent.

The budget will also allow staff to cash in a $330 million investment fund at the rate of $100m a year to help keep debt below prescribed levels.

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