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Wednesday
Mar072012

10. Rates Remision Policy

This is the new rates Remission Policy that meets the requirements of developers:

Rates Remission Policy - An Overview of The Proposed Changes
The Council is proposing three changes to the current Rates Remission Policy, as
follows:
• the introduction of remissions for new subdivisions
• the introduction of remissions for economic development, and
• a change to its remission for Land Held for Conservation and Preservation
Purposes, so that the remission is only available for land covered by a Queen
Elizabeth II Trust covenant.

1. New Subdivisions
For new subdivisions, the Council is proposing to introduce a remission to subdividers for a limited period on newly subdivided rating units. The Council is of a view that as newly created allotments are not consuming Council services to the extent that developed allotments are, some level of rate remission is appropriate. The Council is proposing an additional budget of $95,000 per annum, funded from the Local Social Development activity to fund a rates remission for new subdivisions.

2. Economic Development
To promote employment and economic development within the District, the Council proposes to offer rates remission to: 
 encourage developments that assist new businesses to become established in the District, or encourage developments that assist existing businesses in the District to expand and grow. The Council is proposing an additional budget of $20,000 per annum, funded from the Economic Development activity to fund rates remissions for economic development.

3. Land Held for Conservation and Preservation Purposes
The Council is also proposing a change to its remission for Land Held for Conservation and Preservation Purposes, so that the remission is only available for land covered by a Queen Elizabeth II Trust covenant. The Council is of a view that land covered by a Queen Elizabeth II Trust covenant more closely aligns with its expectations for onservation and preservation purposes.

Rates remission for "Covenanted land" for the year ending 2010 was $8,020 (for 24 rating units). There are currently 122 rating units of "QEII Covenanted land" in the District. The Council is therefore proposing additional budget of $65,000 per annum for rates remission for Queen Elizabeth II Trust land in the District. This is an increase of almost $57,000 per annum.

This new policy may at first sight appear fairly innocuous.

What is not innocuous is the ability of this and future councils to increase the $95,000 and $20,000 each time the Annual Plan is revised - no further consultation required. The potential for this little boondoggle to expand into something really worthwhile for developers goes without saying. The total cost over the TYP is estimated at $2m., for starters.

The next boondogle arises with the;

Rates Remission on New Subdivisions

Objective                                                                                                                                              To enable Council to provide relief to subdividers for a limited period on newly subdivided rating units.

Policy Statement
On written application of the ratepayer, and provided that:
• two or more rating units have been created by a new subdivision; and,
• the rating units are held in the name of the original sub-divider; and,
• no improvements have been made to the rating units other than the provision of grass and fences; Council may remit 50% of the rates assessed as payable on all but one rating unit.              

The remission of these rates may be allowed until a rating unit is sold, or for a maximum of two rating years, whichever occurs first. Decisions for remission rates on new subdivisions will be delegated to officials as set out in Council’s delegation resolution pertaining to rates remission policy.

And:

Rates Remissions for Economic Development

Objective
To promote employment and economic development within the District by offering rates remission to:
• encourage developments that assist new businesses to become established in the District, or
• encourage developments that assist existing businesses in the District to expand and grow.
This policy is one of a number of initiatives for businesses that Council has in place to assist in achieving the outcomes in its Economic Development Strategy.

Conditions and Criteria
This part of the policy applies to commercial and/or industrial developments that involve the construction, erection or alteration of any building or buildings, or other works intended to be used for industrial, commercial or administrative purposes.

Residential developments will not qualify for remission under this part of the Remission Policy. In order for an application for rates remission for economic development to be considered, applicants must address the General Criteria.

There are a number of criteria that applicants will be required to meet, but you get the general drift, and will understand the loopholes that are immediately opened of which any sharp developer (and which isn't?) will be able to take advantage. 

Even more so now that the planning department is about to have all of its experienced planners removed as numbers are reduced from 12 to around 4. And those 4 will certainly not be in the business of arguing with the Mayor over how these new open ended rules are to be applied. Applications are supposed to be decided by full Council, but that is a joke with control vested in the manner it currently operates.  

The next one is: 

Community, Sporting and Other Non-profit Organisations

Objective
To enable the Council to facilitate the on-going provision of non-commercial community services and non-commercial recreational opportunities for the residents of Thames-Coromandel District. The purpose of granting rates remission to an organisation is to:
• assist the organisation's survival; and
• make membership of the organisation more accessible to the general public, particularly disadvantaged groups. These include children, youth, young families, aged people, and economically disadvantaged people.
(AKA the BM Justine Baverstock clause! And it will cost thousands in lost revenue) 

And: 

Rating Units Containing Two Separately Habitable Units 

Objective
To enable the Council to provide for relief for ratepayers who own a rating unit containing two habitable units but who use the second unit only to accommodate nonpaying guests and family.

Policy Statement
On written application of a ratepayer annually, and provided that:
• their rating unit contains two habitable units; and
• the second unit is used only for family and friends of the occupants of the first unit on a non-paying basis; and
• the application is accompanied by a Statutory Declaration made by the ratepayer that declares that b) has been complied with for the current rating year and will continue to be complied with in the ensuing year; then, 
Council may remit second targeted rates for water, wastewater, stormwater, solid waste, any uniform annual general charge, and targeted rates set on a uniform basis for works and services. In no circumstances will loan charges be remitted. If a rating unit contains more than two habitable units used by non-paying guests and family, only one is entitled to remission.

The big unanswered question is just what exactly these new policies will cost in terms of Council revenue. I don't think these new inexperienced councillors have a clue in that regard. It will become clearer soon enough I guess, but the fact that no attempt has been made to cost these changes is instructive - I suspect that finance staff will know, and that they will be somewhat apprehensive as to the implications. I wonder if they have had the courage to explain the likely cost to Leach & Coy.  

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

Regarding the rates remission policy on new subdivisions.

Any granting of this remission will throw rating burden directly onto existing ratepayers. Two years after subdivision is completed, a developer can continue claiming this remission.

This will encourage developers to 'sit on' their developments while waiting for the best time to sell and maximise profit.

This amounts to the ratepayer funding for land speculators.

I wasn't going to bother putting submitting for the ten year Plan as the current crop of Councillors don't have the wit or wile to challenge 'Jabba the Hut'.

However, I will submit on this point as the outcome is both immoral and outrageous.

Dal Minogue.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDal Minogue

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