$4.5 Million + Owing in Rates

$4.5 Million + Owing in Rates

Waitomo and Otorohanga district coun­cils are taking proactive steps to help local residents pay their overdue rates bills. At the end of 2014, WDC was owed $3.8m and ODC $717,912.

In Waitomo, $1.1m of the outstand­ing amount was for late penalties, while in Otorohanga the penalty total came to $261,110. Rates are collected by district councils to pay for several services including mainte­nance to parks and reserves, rubbish col­lection and road repairs.

Waitomo mayor Brian Hanna says while arrears are high, the district does face a unique challenge when compared to city councils in that $1.3m (34%) of the $3.8m is attributed to Maori Freehold Land (MFL).

“This is not a race issue, but the thing for council is that we have a huge number of small holdings that are multiply-owned and are effectively unproductive. “The outstanding amount is significant, but it is no worse than it has probably al­ways been.”

Published in 22 January 2015 issue