Raw Deal For Franklin Businesses

Published: Tue 6 Aug 2013 09:24 AM
Raw Deal For Franklin Businesses
The Glenbrook steel mill’s massive rate hike isn’t the only cost increase being pushed on local businesses by the Auckland Council, Franklin ward candidate Niko Kloeten says.
According to the Waiuku Post the New Zealand Steel-owned mill’s annual rates bill has increased from $692,000 to more than $922,000, a staggering 33% ($230,000) increase.
Rates for Franklin businesses are going up as a result of the Auckland Council’s programme to equalise the ratings differential between business and urban residential ratepayers across the entire region.
This means Franklin businesses, which have a lower differential, are seeing their rates rise significantly until 2015/16 when they catch up with the rest of Auckland.
Fortunately their rates will then start to decrease, as the council cuts the differential by 0.1 per year to a target of 1.63 times urban residential ratepayers in 2022/2023.
Kloeten says it makes little sense for Franklin businesses to get rate hikes now when their rates will soon be heading back down anyway.
“I support reducing the ratings differential as I believe it is unfair to slug businesses with outsized rates bills, not to mention bad for economic growth and job creation,” he says.
“But why make Franklin businesses ride this rates rollercoaster, particularly at a time when many companies are already struggling?  Surely it would make more sense to simply cut the differential for Franklin businesses at a slower rate than everyone else.”
Kloeten warns that another Auckland Council-imposed cost increase could have an even bigger effect on Franklin’s businesses and the local economy.
Food inspection fees are set to rise rapidly over the next five years as they, too, are equalised across Auckland.
For some local restaurants and cafés this will result in their annual food inspection fees doubling over that time, which Kloeten says is a cost they simply can’t afford.
“Many of these businesses are teetering on the edge because families have little disposable income after paying their mortgages on Franklin’s increasingly expensive homes.  This will put some people out of business.
“As Councillor Cameron Brewer has pointed out, it’s fundamentally unfair to make The Pukeko’s Nest in Pukekohe, the Kentish in Waiuku, or the Beachlands Café, pay the same fees as some flash-harry bar in Newmarket frequented by people on the rich list.”

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