Dreaded rates

At the beginning of every council year (July) all property owners in Invercargill receive a rates bill. This particular rates bill includes a breakdown of what our rates pay for. Here is a copy of mine:
I don’t know about you but I don’t really pay much attention to this breakdown – usually I just look at the total amount for the year and what that breaks down to for the 4 payments I have to pay.
Today I was feeling a bit geeky and thought I might actually take a closer look at this rates bill – mostly because I thought it might be interesting to break down a few numbers.
So for example – I pay $306.07 per year for my water supply. So that’s all the water we use in our home – drinking, cleaning, showering, washing, watering and flushing and that’s four people. It also covers the means for getting that water from the water supply to my house.
So if I divide that number by 52 weeks it means I am paying $5.88 per week for water for my family and if I divide that number by 4 (number of people in my house) that’s $1.47 per person per week.
Another fixed charge amount on my rates bill is for rubbish collection – $169.22 per year. So that works out to be $3.25 per rubbish day.
These two services are the types of services I think we often take for granted. We expect water to come out of the tap when we turn it on and we expect our bin to be emptied each time we put it out. And I guess often we really don’t feel like we pay for it because there is no real connection between the act and the payment of rates.
These types of services are also infrastructure ones – council core business – must dos. And there are others like sewerage, drainage and roading. And most of our rates bill is made up of costs attributed to these activities.
I guess I am trying to create a little bit of perspective on the actual cost to each home in Invercargill for these services and the value we get for them. I am pretty sure that $5.88 per week for unlimited water is a pretty good deal.
I have also just worked out how much we pay per week to have Sky TV for a year – $16.38 per week; $23.07 per week for the phone and internet (not including cell phones) and on average about $34 per week on electricity.

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