The Relativity of Rates


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Local government for a connected world. Presentation for EGovBarCamp, Wellington, September 2007.

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The Relativity of Rates

  1. 1. The Relativity of Rates local government for a connected world mark rickerby,
  2. 2. Wellington, 2007 Residential rates for properties are based on ● their current market value 30 years ago you could have bought a house in ● city suburbs for $80,000-$200,000 That house may now be worth over $500,00 ● Rates will have increased to reflect this – but ● your usage of infrastructure and local services may not have changed at all!
  3. 3. What is happening? The ratio between commercial and residential ● rates is changing Currently, commercial properties pay $4.2 for ● every $1 paid by residential properties That ratio is changing to $2.8 to $1 ● Less commercial money in the kitty! ● Prospect of 50% of residential rates to service ● council debts over the next 7 years
  4. 4. Where do rates go? Find out! ● –
  5. 5. How much do we really know? Ratepayers are faceless account numbers ● What does the Base General Rate go towards? –
  6. 6. Open residential data The history of every property on every street ● is listed and mapped...
  7. 7. Homogenized locality ... but every property is treated in the same ● generic way The WCC website is a fantastic resource but ● completely un(der) personalized Where does the Base General Rate go again? ●
  8. 8. Are residents customers? The Council has a monopoly – you must pay ● rates Council rates policy is focused on their own ● strategic objectives But what about the strategic objectives of ● residents? Democratically, the Council should be ● accountable to residents
  9. 9. Investing in locality Residents need to have more say in how their ● general rates are being spent Democracy doesn't have to be just about ● voting every three years Residents should be able to see direct returns ● in their local area Potential for 1-4% of the base general rate to ● be directed towards localized community funds
  10. 10. Decentralizing regional investment Residents of individual streets or housing ● clusters could have a choice in how a portion of their rates gets spent Enabling infrastructure upgrades, street ● plantings, installations, sculptures, suburban libraries Collect ideas from residents for community ● projects they want in their area Allow them to filter % of their rates towards ● these funds
  11. 11. Decentralizing regional investment These ideas need the web if they are to work ● effectively Residents could log in to a “MyStreet” ● account Precise visual breakdown of their rates ● charges Tools for directing a part of their annual ● payment towards community projects of their choice
  12. 12. Community This isn't just the cliché of a web community, ● it's an actual community of neighbourhoods Awareness of local issues ● Awareness of who is who in a suburb ● Civil defence networks ● one day, Wellington is going to need this – Uses the web in a read-write capacity, not ● database silos or static information pages
  13. 13. Property development Lengthy resource consent process, long list of ● disputes between property owners Window rights! Should property owners have ● a say in retaining the outlook of their building? Public access to development and extension ● proposals - informs owners of planned development in their location Resolve conflicts before they even start ●
  14. 14. Socially networked urban planning Would urban planners, council ● representatives, property developers, architects, and residents actually be able to communicate and co-operate effectively? That's unlikely – but in this case, the means ● are the ends On the web, public processes are much more ● visible - nothing gets lost in the paperwork Increasing awareness through access ●
  15. 15. MyStreet: digital neighbourhoods The Council already has the data and the ● platform, just not the interface Each location has specific concerns beyond the ● general issues facing all Wellingtonians Online spaces provide the possibility for ● collaboratively solving these concerns
  16. 16. MyStreet: answering questions Personalize it! ● Who are my neighbours? ● What is the state of the infrastructure in my ● neighbourhood? What planned developments are there in my ● neighbourhood? What projects can I contribute to? ●
  17. 17. Where to start... Bottom-up vs Top-down organization? ● Baby steps... ● Map ratepayers accounts to personalized ● online services Bubble up data from various information silos ● City wide survey of residents opinions on ● e-government
  18. 18. Thank you! ● ● ●