QLDC rates: What’s on the horizon

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Clues are emerging in recent Queenstown Lakes District Council papers on changes to rates and user charges for the new council year starting July 1.

QLDC stresses the predictions are indications only and will depend on the final draft Annual Plan still to be approved by councillors.

Wonder of wonders, most Wakatipu homes can perhaps look forward to reductions on their rates bill – for maybe the first time in living memory.

Don’t go out and spend the savings in advance, however – like Michael Cullen’s tax cuts, they’ll be minimal.
Average homes throughout Queenstown and the Wakatipu may save $10-$20 over a year.

A rural Wakatipu property, however, could get whacked an extra 12.3 per cent – $220 more per year on a $1.4 million property.

Commercial landlords may do better, with likely savings of 3.5-4.7 per cent – just under $200 yearly on a $1.3m Queenstown property – while accommodation properties face small increases of up to three per cent.

Changes are afoot in user charges, however:

  • Waterways: QLDC’s working party wants user charges to cover 40 per cent of the cost of operating boat ramps and jetties – they presently cover only 10 per cent. Without an increase in demand, that’s a 400 per cent hike. Commercial operators won’t be happy, either – waterways fees are to be “reviewed” to almost double the dollars needed to fund “waterways control”.
  • Sports fields, halls, pools: After all the kerfuffle about price-gouging by new QLDC quango Lakes Leisure, QLDC is to introduce a new “annual recreation charge”. It’s hard to ascertain whether this will have any effect on LL pricing – although it appears unlikely to affect pool charges.
  • Dog licences: “A significant increase in private contribution to Animal Control activities will be necessary…” says the council document.
  • Arrowtown Promotion Rate: Arrowtown businesses will now be levied for a direct contribution to the Arrowtown Promotion Board.