Proposed changes to the Uniform Annual General Charges (UAGC) are being received with mixed feelings. The Post received this response to the consultation document for Waikato District Council’s 10 year plan from a Tuakau pensioner.
This week I received the consultation document for Waikato District Council’s 10-year plan. I was dismayed and somewhat annoyed to see a proposal to reduce the UAGC (Uniform Annual General Charge).
This charge exists to overcome some of the basic unfairness created by charging rates based on value alone and is limited by statute.
It should be set at close to the maximum allowed by statute, to minimise the unfairness, yet the council proposes to reduce it by $130.89. While the document acknowledges that some believe it should be set at the highest level it then proceeds to make fallacious arguments for reducing it inspired mainly by the high increases in valuation in Huntly and Ngaruawahia.
This is a knee jerk reaction to this occurrence which only reduces the rates advantage these areas have enjoyed for some time.
They are not the only places to have revaluations well in excess of the average of 33.7%. Under the proposal they will continue to enjoy some of the lowest rates in the district.
The money forgone by this reduction will be recovered by charging higher valued properties in other areas of the district more when they often receive a much lower level of service.
In my case I have no footpaths, storm water or wastewater services yet they plan to increase my rates by 16% partly as a result of a ridiculous revaluation and partly as a result of this move. As a pensioner whose crime was to retire with a nice house why should I be subsidising cheaper properties in town that have full services?
Are they trying to make it unaffordable for me to stay in my home?
The arguments put forward to justify this action are a significant distortion of selected items in order to make it seem fair.
The use of average figures throughout the document, except for Rural, seeks to disguise the impact by not providing High/Low value rates figures that have been used in previous years.
The graph provided on page 10 of the longterm plan implies that all residential rates would be reduced by selecting Option 2 or 3 which is not true and in fact the argument they use for not preferring Option 3 applies equally to their preferred Option 2.
I urge all to vote for Option 1 which is NOT the council’s preferred option to prevent this injustice.