SOME Gisborne ratepayers got a shock when checking the targeted rates in their latest rates bill.
A redistribution of pest management costs meant significant hikes in the targeted rate for pests and plants —depending on where you live.
One Whataupoko property owner, who did not wish to be named, wanted to know why the pests and plants component of her quarterly rates bill had increased by 2240 percent.
A more intense focus on pest management, particularly in urban areas, was part of the reason according to Gisborne District Council.
GDC corporate services manager Mike Drummond said animal and pest management strategies were reviewed as part of the draft 10-year plan and, as a result, areas that benefited more from pest control would pay a higher percentage of the costs.
This was the fairest way to divide costs, he said.
“The aim was to find the fairest way to fund these services and as a result of the review, there were significant changes to some rates.”
While some ratepayers would have seen a significant increase in that component, others would have seen a decrease.
The Gisborne resident told The Herald the pest and plant targeted rate for her 3.2 hectare semi-rural property had jumped from $4.28 per annum to $100.05.
“It is a negligible increase in dollar terms — if the size of your property is very small, say 0.25 hectares, then the increase will be from 34 cents to $7.92 . . . however, should you own a larger property then the increase is more noticeable,” she said.
Overall her rates only increased 5.23 percent but the rate/charge portion for pests and plants had gone from $1.35 in January to $31.67 for their most recent bill.
“We don’t mind contributing to controlling the spread of pests and plants in the Gisborne district and being charged according to the number of hectares owned, but surely an increase of this magnitude is absurd,” she said.
A Makaraka resident saw his pests and plants component going from $1.35 to $16.40 — with the targeted rate amount of $1.33 for his 0.08 hectare property, up from 11 cents in his January bill.
Mr Drummond said the pest management changes had been consulted on as part of the council’s 10-year plan process.
Rural residents had traditionally been the major beneficiaries of this service but more work was being done in urban areas now to control plant and animal pest issues such as privet, woolly nightshade, Argentine ants, possums and feral pigeons, he said.
Ratepayers with properties in Gisborne city, Makaraka, Wainui/Okitu and the Poverty Bay Flats would have seen a small increase in the targeted rate; land owners at Te Karaka and Whatatutu would see a larger increase.
The targeted rate for property owners in outlying hill country from Gisborne to Mangatuna and in Motu, Matawai and Tolaga Bay substantially decreased, even though their rate still covered 25 percent of the cost of the pest management service, Mr Drummond said.