Northern Action Group chair Bill Townson told the Warkworth Area Liaison Group that a North Rodney council could result in a 15 per cent reduction in rates.
An independent north Rodney Council could be in place by the end of next year if the Northern Action Group (NAG) gets its way.
NAG hopes to submit the final pieces of information to the Local Government Commission this month, allowing it to assess the de-amalgamation of the district.
At the Warkworth Area Liaison Group meeting this month, NAG chair Bill Townson pitched his plan for a council with five councillors representing five wards and one mayor. It would be a unitary council, performing the roles of both a regional and district council.
“We would like to have fewer councillors, but that’s the minimum allowed by law,” Mr Townson said.
A North Rodney Council would have a population of about 24,000, with about 17,000 ratepayers, he said.
“That would mean each councillor would represent about 3500 people. In Auckland at present, each Councillor represents about 70,000 people.”
He said the council should encourage a user-pays system where possible and increase the fixed proportion of rates, the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC), to 30 per cent to make rates less determined by property values.
“At the moment, there are people on properties that their families have owned for several generations. The properties have become so valuable that they have to sell up or subdivide. It needs to be more equitable.”
Investigations by Puhoi finance and policy analyst Larry Mitchell found rates in Rodney could reduce by about 15 per cent, based on expenses of other smaller councils.
“This is all just a proposal at this stage. There will be plenty of opportunities as the process goes through for everyone to have their say.”
One contentious issue was the transfer of debt from Auckland Council. North Rodney could inherit $100 million in debt depending on the details of de-amalgamation.
But Mr Townson said North Rodney would only be saddled with about $15 million of debt if based on Council spending in the area.
The six regional parks in the region could stay under Auckland Council ownership, as an absentee landlord.
In July last year the Local Government Commission (LGC) declined NAG’s application to create a new council district independent of Auckland, but that decision was overturned in the High Court in April. Justice David Collins, found the Commission had made an error in their decision but said NAG needed further information on the boundaries of North Rodney and evidence of support from greater Auckland.
Mr Townson hoped to have the boundary finalised and results from a survey of Aucklanders by the end of the month. He has also emailed 65 residents and ratepayers groups in Auckland to get their backing.
Local Government Commission principal advisor and former Commission chief executive Donald Riezebos says that when the required information is provided it will take the about a month for the Commission to decide whether it will assess the application.