People with licence to occupy units in retirement villages will be able to apply for a rates remission in a new scheme to be offered by Auckland Council next year.
The Strategy and Finance Committee today recommended to the Governing Body approve to apply the scheme for the 2012-13 rating year as a way to address impacts of the uniform rate system for Auckland.
For Manukau and Franklin this includes charging a uniform annual general charge for each unit and for North Shore, Rodney and Papakura applying charges by capital value.
The decision means those with licenses to occupy units in retirement villages, which are currently ineligible for the government’s rates rebate scheme because they are not technically ratepayers, will now be able to apply for relief.
Mayor Len Brown has welcomed the decision which he says will address the issue of inequity and one of the extreme impacts of the new rates system.
“This is a sector of the community whose incomes are flat lining or decreasing and at this stage the government has not come to the party. I don’t agree with the government that the existing rates rebate scheme goes far enough, we can and should do more.
“It is plain and clear here that there is an inequity and we need to address it, just as we did with other sectors, such as with Franklin business.”
Criteria for the new scheme will be the same as those to the Department of Internal Affairs rates rebate scheme, which is income tested, to ensure equality for all ratepayers. The cost of the remissions scheme is estimated at around $1.5m and while it will not impact on the overall rates increase on 3.6 per cent in 2012-13, the cost will be distributed across other ratepayers.
Officers have also been asked to report back to the Governing Body on a grant scheme for the 2013-14 year for consideration.
A grant scheme, is similar to the existing rebate scheme that would enable council to credit funds directly to the successful applicants.
Auckland’s new single rates system will apply from July 1, 2012, with ratepayers receiving notices in August. The new system and scheme will be included the council’s Long-term Plan (2012-2022) which will be adopted by the Governing Body on June 28.