The Relativity of Rates
local government for a connected world
mark rickerby, http://maetl.coretxt.net.nz
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!
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
Where do rates go?
How much do we really know?
Ratepayers are faceless account numbers
What does the Base General Rate go towards?
Open residential data
The history of every property on every street
is listed and mapped...
... but every property is treated in the same
The WCC website is a fantastic resource but
completely un(der) personalized
Where does the Base General Rate go again?
Are residents customers?
The Council has a monopoly – you must pay
Council rates policy is focused on their own
But what about the strategic objectives of
Democratically, the Council should be
accountable to residents
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
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
Collect ideas from residents for community
projects they want in their area
Allow them to filter % of their rates towards
Decentralizing regional investment
These ideas need the web if they are to work
Residents could log in to a “MyStreet”
Precise visual breakdown of their rates
Tools for directing a part of their annual
payment towards community projects of their
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
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
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
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
MyStreet: answering questions
Who are my neighbours?
What is the state of the infrastructure in my
What planned developments are there in my
What projects can I contribute to?
Where to start...
Bottom-up vs Top-down organization?
Map ratepayers accounts to personalized
Bubble up data from various information silos
City wide survey of residents opinions on