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Taupo ratepayers enraged at proposed increases

Published: 6:49PM Monday June 11, 2012 Source: ONE News

Taupo residents have joined a growing number of angry ratepayers around the country frustrated over proposed rate hikes.

A group of Taupo residents protested at the local council chambers this morning, with the intention of fighting a hefty increase that could cause some homeowner's rates bill to rise up to 300%.

The Taupo District Council plans to introduce a capital value rating system next year which will affecting residential properties. This new scheme, based on a property's freehold value, would see residential rates shoot up, while commercial rates would be cut.

This morning's action was not the first protest against the rates increase. On April 24, around 800 people gathered outside the council building to submit a petition of around 8000 signatures from locals opposed to the change.

"On our older community on fixed incomes this is actually quite dramatic because some of them will now be paying up to six weeks of their pension just to pay their rates to the council here," said local resident local John Boddy.

Similarly, local autoelectrician, Craig Poppe is not impressed.

"I expect to personally pay a thousand dollars extra this year just to get exactly what I've already got."

Taupo joins a growing list of communities disgruntled by recent rates hikes tagged to large infrastructure projects.

Mangawhai residents were stung by a proposed 30% increase in April to cover the cost of a new sewerage scheme, and Cantabrians have threatened revolt amid fears of steep hikes.

Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper said council's key challenge was reducing significant debt while maintaining current levels of service.