Melody sales@mangawhaifocus.co.nz 021454814
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Kaipara Commissioner - John Robertson - Your Questions Answered: Council stability should boost confidence


Council’s financial year ended on 30 June 2013. The Council has made considerable progress in getting its financial house in order.

Our early forecasts are that the net deficit has dropped to under $2m for this 2013 year, from the height of $10.6m just a year ago. The working capital deficit has been reduced to less than $1m, from $15.7m a year ago. And debt has been held at $80m, a key goal of the Commissioners.

These are early indications of results, not final audited ones, and so the figures will change slightly. However ratepayers and residents can take heart from the fact that your Council has turned a corner in a financial sense, from the steadily worsening situation of the past, to the beginning of the road to recovery.

The books at the end of this new financial year will improve again. Commissioners expect deficits to end and debt to reduce. We anticipate rate collections to be higher, as those still holding back their rates reconsider the merits of their stance and the fairness of others paying for the services they receive. This greater cash inflow will be invested back into the infrastructure that serves you, including our critical road maintenance.

Property rates will stabilise from next year – we forecast any increases to be at inflation-type levels. This should provide confidence to those considering buying property in the District. Already building activity in the District is rising, and realtors are reporting increased market activity in Mangawhai.

For property investors, confidence is important. The three hits on property owners in Kaipara – the global financial crisis, the Council’s misendeavours over the wastewater scheme, and the negative publicity of the past year  – have hurt market confidence in Mangawhai in particular. With Council succeeding in getting its house in order, Commissioners trust that confidence will be boosted.

Commissioners remain concerned at the number of people who are not paying any rates. While over the past six months many hundreds of property owners who were earlier holding back their rates have now begun paying them, we are worried that some “protesting” property owners may be facing payment difficulties. If you need to talk to the Council about a payment plan, please contact our customer service team. 

Are most people paying their rates on time?
Yes. Overall, 10,830 Kaipara ratepayers (77.8%) had paid their 2012/13 rates in full by 30 June. Some 1,019 property owners (7.3%) had not paid any rates, and 2,063 had made partial payments. More than half of those who have not paid their 2012/13 rates have properties in Mangawhai. 

Is it true that most of those not paying any rates live outside the District?
Yes, it appears so. Some 52 percent of those who did not pay any rates in 2012/13 have their postal addresses outside of Kaipara. In Mangawhai, this is higher – 65 percent live outside of the District.

One of the things that those who rally people not to pay their rates say, is that the Kaipara District Council is not a ‘going concern’ and the Council is not ‘solvent’. Is that true?
No, that is far from the truth. Your Council is a substantial organisation, and has revenues of over $40 million. Debt is under control, and we forecast that it will be paid down from $80 million today to $50 million by 2022. There are other Councils today with debt profiles worse than Kaipara’s.

I have just received my rates bill.  With four rates bills this year rather than six, can I set up a monthly payment schedule?
As part of the Annual Plan 2013/2014 consultation process, Council asked if it should reduce its six instalments to four per annum. There was strong community support for this proposal and so we have done this – and to answer your question, yes, Council does offer weekly, fortnightly, monthly, bimonthly, six monthly and annual automatic and direct debit payment options. Contact our helpful customer service staff on 0800 727 059 or call into one of our Council offices.

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