Christchurch rates to rise 7.5% despite cost cutting

Christchurch City Council rates will go up by an average 7.5% from July 1, after a two day cost-cutting session by the council.

The 2014/15 Annual Plan finalised by the council today allows for total rating revenue of $351.8 million.

The 7.5% rates increase includes 5.55% for day to day operations, and to cover higher than expected costs from improving consenting services and cleaning up after flooding.

There is also a 1.93% Special Earthquake Charge to meet additional earthquake-related costs.

This means the average weekly rates bill in Christchurch will be $39.09, up from $36.37 this year, a rise of $2.72 per week.

Councillors decided no Christmas decorations will be put up in the city this year.

The council will also stop changing decorative banners for one year, saving $75,000. Council staff will look at sponsorship opportunities for events to be held in the city next year.

The 2014/15 budget was fixed by the previous council as part of its Three Year Plan and Mayor Lianne Dalziel says it did not allow for sufficient headroom to absorb shocks such as the March storm.

"The Council found itself backed into a corner over the rates increase," Ms Dalziel said.

"Because of the loss of building accreditation we've had to pour millions of dollars into re-establishing this core function at a time when our need to perform has never been greater.

"I cannot take responsibility for the financial situation we inherited, but from this point on I will ensure that the Council is on a sound financial footing and is better able to bear these shocks," the mayor said.

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