President – Southland Federated Farmers
Do you support Environment Southland’s decision to permanently increase rates by 20%? Due to lack of feedback, councillors believe you do. On Friday 30th July they’re meeting to ratify this decision, so if you don’t support it, this is your last chance to let them know.
This rates rise has been described as a one-off “reset”, and that has led many to think that rates will go back to normal next year. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Next year, the 20% extra will remain, and an additional, more “normal” level of rates increase will be added on top of that, and again each year after. The compounding effect of that is enormous – millions of extra dollars in Council coffers over the next decade and every decade beyond.
We know Council has been affected by COVID-19, and by Government regulation – but haven’t we all? The rest of us have to tighten our belts and work within our means. We want Council to do the same rather than allowing themselves to become another Government taxation arm.
Beyond all of that, if they really need such a huge increase in income, surely it is only reasonable to provide some detailed information about how the money is to be spent. That’s what any of us would have to do if we were seeking more finance from a lender for our businesses. Council have failed to provide that information and as a result, if they really need this increase, we believe they should live within their means for the next 12 months and consult properly on it for next year. Council must be accountable to their ratepayers who elected them.
Only Councillors Baird, McPhail and Stevens stood up against the 20% rates hike. If you think others should reconsider, you need to let them know that. All Councillor details are available on the Environment Southland website.
Don’t leave this to someone else. It doesn’t take long to send an email or pick up the phone. But if this unjustified $3.6 million rates increase goes through, you can bet the dollars you’re left with that you will be stuck with it for ever more.