Rural Rates into Roads

New figures exposing the rates Rodney residents pay show the region is financially discriminated against, says councillor Greg Sayers.

Auckland Council recently released the figures to the Rodney councillor after he complained about the lack of transparency.

Mayor Phil Goff had originally agreed to release the numbers to Sayers in early 2017 but failed to do so.

Rodney councillor Greg Sayers says the area is being financially discriminated against.BadRoad

The figures showed Rodney residents were paying more than $206 million each year, which including estimated development contributions and fees.

Those living in rural areas were paying $38m, residential ratepayers $30m and businesses $7m.

Greg Sayers wants $100 million over 10 years to seal a third of unsealed roads in Rodney.

Greg Sayers wants $100 million over 10 years to seal a third of unsealed roads in Rodney.

“What really stood out first of all was that rural ratepayers are paying more than any of those other two sectors which was really interesting,” Sayers said.

“We’ve never had the figures before for all of Rodney, and we have never had it broken down into those different areas.”

North-west residents have often complained they don’t believe the rates they pay were spent back in their community.

“I can’t quantify it but it’s certainly my impression that the community is being the most financially discriminated against,” Sayers said.

He said of the $38m spent by rural ratepayers, only $1.22m was used to seal gravel roads – which was what Rodney really needed.

Makarau resident John Denham said he had lived in Rodney for 17 years and had never seen the unsealed roads improved.

Although contractors were sent out to fix the roads, he said within a few days the work had been washed away and potholes were evident again.

Denham said he didn’t see ratepayer’s dollars being spent in his local community

He said his own road, Burnside Rd, was a “shocker”.

Sayers said he was calling for $3.7m of rural Rodney’s rates to be leveraged by the council’s treasury into $10m a year for road sealing.

He wanted this to happen every years for the next 10 years for a total of $100m.

This money would help seal a third of Rodney’s roads, he said.

“That’s probably enough. Not every road needs sealing.”

The Rodney Local Board was investigating a transport targeted rate in the Rodney area.

It was expected to use ratepayers’ money for transport issues – including a passenger subsidy for a trial rail service to Huapai, park and ride stations and sealing gravel roads.

But Sayers didn’t agree.

“I disagree that rural ratepayers should have to pay an extra tax on top of the rates they are already paying,” he said.

“They should be getting value for money.”

Auckland Council were approached for comment but have not yet responded.

 – Stuff