What are rates?
Rates are what property owners pay to local authorities to fund the important work done in their area. Rates are paid to both the city/district council and the regional council for the different work carried out by each.
Types of rates
Environment Canterbury collects different types of rates. Together, these different rates make up your rates bill.
General rates are paid by all property owners. They are based on the capital value of a property and its location.
General rates are used for activities that benefit the entire region.
For example, providing the Canterbury Maps resource to the public.
Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC)
UAGC is essentially a ‘general rate’ but every property pays the same amount regardless of its capital value or location.
Targeted rates are paid by property owners who receive a direct benefit from a specific activity.
Some targeted rates have ‘differentials’. This means they are categorised into different classes, depending on how much benefit the property is likely to receive. Rate-payers will pay rates of a higher or lower amount depending on the property class code.
For example, flood protection works that benefit properties in a particular area are targeted geographically.
Class A would be for a property at highest risk from flooding, so would benefit most from flood protection works and be charged more, whereas Class D would be at a lower risk and charged less.
Targeted rates may also apply across all rate-payers to fund a specific activity.
Rates are not the only source of funding that pays for the work we do. We also receive grants from the Government and other agencies and user-pays income. For example bus fares.
How rates are decided
When setting rates and fees/charges, we need to balance:
- what is affordable for the community
- who benefits from that work
- the outcome that the activity will give the community
- how quickly it needs to be achieved.
It isn’t possible to do all the things that need doing immediately, so this balance is crucial to keeping rates affordable and activity on track.
As rates vary from property to property, we talk about ‘total rates revenue’ when talking about rates increases or decreases.
This means a 4% rates increase won’t necessarily mean your individual rates will increase by 4%. This percentage applies to the total income from rates received.
We have a policy limit on rates increases of 5.3%. The Council works hard to keep it below that or must be satisfied that the exceedance is justifiable.
Please refer to our Annual Plan or Long-Term Plan for more detailed information information about rates. How rates are applied is outlined in our Revenue and Financing Policy which is consulted on with the community every few years.
Have your say
There are several different ways you can have a say in how rates are set and spent.
Write a submission
We need to hear the voice and opinions of the community to help us make decisions. You can do this easily on our online consultation site. This is particularly useful when we go out to consultation on various plans and proposals.
Speak at a Council meeting:
You are always welcome to attend Council meetings and time is set aside at the beginning of each meeting to hear from the public. Please contact our Governance team beforehand if you wish to do this. You speak at a Council meeting in several different ways:
- Public forum – an individual or group speaking to a matter not necessarily on the Council meeting agenda
- Deputation – an individual or group speaking to a matter on the Council meeting agenda
- Petition – an individual or group presenting to the Council a petition signed by 20 or more people.
Contact a Councillor
Councillors are all contactable should you wish to speak with them directly.