Gore council’s rates higher than most

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The Gore District Council slightly higher rates than most rural councils, the latest local government league table from the Taxpayers’ Union shows.

Taxpayers’ Union executive director Jordan Williams said although the Gore council was middling regarding most metrics, it had higher rates than most rural councils.

But there was not a huge margin between the Southland councils, Mr Williams said.

“It’s all within $33 – it’s pretty good,” Mr Williams said.

While the Gore council had fewer assets than its counterparts, it also had fewer liabilities, Mr Williams said.

The Gore council’s average residential rates are the highest in Southland at $2198 a year, followed by the Southland District Council’s $2183, and the Invercargill City Council’s $2165.

The SDC has the most assets per ratepayer of any provincial council in New Zealand at $206,901.

The SDC also has the third-lowest liabilities per ratepayer of any provincial council at $1705.

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said the Gore District Council had a focus on upgrading infrastructure.

The level of spending on infrastructure over the next five years would be the highest it had undertaken during the time he had been involved with the council, Mr Hicks said.

“So there’s quite a lot of investment going on,” he said.

The council’s performance could be measured in terms of its total operating costs and that put the local body at the middling point compared with other rural councils, he said.

Total operating expenses per ratepayer for the Gore District Council amount to $4527, while the average for rural councils is $6868 and the national average is $5705, the report shows.

When it came to council assets the SDC and Invercargill City Council had a legacy of investments made by the previous local bodies of Southland and Wallace counties, Mr Hicks said.

“That had given them that advantage we never had,” he said.

The Gore council would strive to deliver better results, Mr Hicks said.

The council was keen to create a place where people would want to live and set up businesses, he said.

The Gore District Council’s borrowing costs per ratepayer are $143, while the average for rural councils is $207 and the national average is $264.

Staff costs per ratepayer for the Gore council amount to $1346, while the average for rural councils is $1339 and the national average is $1220.

Average councillor remuneration for the Gore district is $18,218, while for rural councils the average is $21,149, and the national average is $36,534.

The chief executive’s remuneration for the Gore district is $252,535, while the average for rural councils is $229,043 and the national average is $288,453.

The population of the Gore district, which covers 1254sqkm, is 12,450 and ratepayers number 4359.