The Kāpiti Coast District Council continues to perform strongly in terms of operating costs per ratepayer, ranking second lowest in the country for the second year running.
According to the 2018 Ratepayers’ Report, the KCDC operating cost per ratepayer was $2,678, with Opotiki the only council lower at $2,321.
The Horowhenua District Council came in 8th lowest at $2,897, while the highest of the 66 territorial authorities ranked in the report was the Kaikoura District Council at $8,074.
The annual league tables are prepared by the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, in partnership with the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance.
But the report also shows Kapiti was the 4th highest in terms of liabilities per ratepayer at $10,114 - twice the national average.
Christchurch City Council was highest at $21,137, followed by Auckland Council at $19,537, while Horowhenua was 22nd highest at $5,194.
Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers' Unions says "across the country council borrowing continues to skyrocket."
He says, "On average, councils have increased the share of debt for each of their ratepayers by $244 – a 5.3 percent increase in borrowing in just a year.
"The data shows why Auckland ratepayers, in particular, have cause for real concern, with Council liabilities now $19,537 per ratepayer, up more than $600 since last year.
"This is second only to Christchurch, and almost four times the national average of $4,876," says Mr Williams.
"Every dollar spent by a Council was earned by a hard working ratepayer," he says.
In a press statement, Mayor K Gurunathan says he’s pleased the report shows the Council performing so well in terms of efficiency, when it comes to the day-to-day costs of providing services across the District.
“The report shows that the Council is a fairly lean organisation when compared to other councils throughout New Zealand, which is consistent with our approach to spending less in order to pay back more and help keep rates affordable,” says the Mayor.
Chair of the KCDC Operations and Finance Committee Councillor Michael Scott says he’s comfortable with the report’s findings.
“Right now, our Council’s primary focus is to live within our financial means. Despite our operating costs being low we know we have some work to do to reduce our debt levels and we’re already taking steps to pay off our borrowings faster.
“For example, we’re using the majority of this year’s surplus to pay off debt. Over the 20 years of our long term plan we’ll be repaying almost $30 million.
“This does mean that we need to make some tough calls but it will ensure we can meet the needs of our communities both now and in the future,” Councillor Michael Scott says.
“Last year we reduced our capital programme by $7.5 million to reduce borrowing levels.”