Environment Waikato has launched pages on its internet site to explain its new rates invoice to Waikato ratepayers.
Regional ratepayers will get a separate rates invoice for Environment Waikato rates this year, along with more information about how rates are used. The rate from Environment Waikato is not new. The Regional Council’s rates used to be collected by the 12 city or district Councils around the Region. However, changes under the Local Government (Rating) Act mean territorial authorities are no longer required to collect rates on behalf of Regional Councils.
Under the new legislation the Regional Council is required to maintain a rating database. Project Watershed ratepayers have previously been able to access their rating information on the website. Now all ratepayers will be able to enter their address or valuation number on the Council’s web pages – www.ew.govt.nz/rates - and get information about what their rates are likely to be for the coming year.
Corporate Services Group Manager Warren Stevens says that while the invoice ratepayers will receive in early August is not a new charge, people will want to know more about what it pays for and how it is calculated.
Ratepayers can also find out about what rates pay for, how to pay, remission and postponement policies and answers to frequently asked questions.
All local authorities, including Regional Councils, are now required to provide a rating assessment which shows how rates for each property were calculated, and a rating invoice which details how much is owed.
“The web pages will help people understand more about the work we do and how it is paid for. They will also get a detailed brochure with their rate invoice in August with information about environmental issues facing the Region and how we propose to tackle them.”
“When rates from the local Council and from Environment Waikato were combined on the same invoice, people found it very confusing. Ratepayers will now be able to see exactly how much Environment Waikato charges and for what.”
Ratepayers can comment on rates by making a submission to the Council’s Draft Annual Plan.
Most of the Region’s 166,000 ratepayers pay less than $250 each year in rates. Ratepayers can arrange to pay by instalments.