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Sunday, April 24, 2011

CCC may expand rates relief scheme

CCC may expand rates relief scheme

Last updated 05:00 25/04/2011
The scale of February's earthquake has prompted Christchurch officials to consider expanding rates relief for owners of damaged property.

If approved this week, the move could cost ratepayers more than $3 million in lost revenue.

After last September's quake, the Christchurch City Council agreed to offer 40 per cent rates remission on residential land needing remediation or that could not be built on again, and a 30 per cent discount to eligible commercial property owners.

However, a paper to Thursday's council meeting said February's magnitude-6.3 quake had caused land and property damage "on a far greater scale".

The council estimated 856 properties had been abandoned and remediated after the September 4 quake, but that figure could now be 3000 or more.

The number of houses demolished after last year's jolt was estimated at 1200, but could reach 10,000 after February's event.

The council had expanded the rates remission scheme after the Boxing Day aftershock.

A council report by funds and financial policies manager Steve Kelsen said the cost of remitting rates was between $2.18m and $3.29m, with the $1.1m difference relating to "the uncertainty" regarding how many properties might be demolished or abandoned in this rating year which ends on June 30.

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