Masterton rates rises lower than planned
Rates are going up in Masterton, but not as much as the council had planned.
The average rates increase will be 3.3 per cent with rural properties averaging 1.6 per cent and urban properties averaging 3.9 per cent increases.
In urban Masterton, the increasing costs of delivering water and sewerage services are the main reason for the rates rise.
The increases are lower than predicted, says mayor Lyn Patterson.
"We have kept rates to an absolute minimum, whilst maintaining the same level of service detailed in the Long-Term Plan," she said.
"This has been due to the combination of a number of factors, including borrowing less than anticipated, lower interest rates and cost increases tied to the rate of inflation being less than expected."
While an amalgamation proposal for the re-organisation of council governance is expected from the Local Government Commission in June, it will not impact on the delivery of services in Masterton in the 2014/15 year. The three Wairarapa Councils will continue to look for opportunities to co-operate and work towards shared services.
Providing and maintaining the community's infrastructure in the form of roads, water supplies, sewerage and stormwater systems accounts for 60 per cent of the rates required.
The Homebush sewerage treatment plant is expected to be fully commissioned by the end of the 2014/15 financial year, with $1.25 million of capital work allowed for in the plan. The progressive renewal of water and sewer mains throughout Masterton will continue. The Riversdale Beach beachfront toilets need to be replaced and the council is working with the Riversdale Surf Lifesaving Club to develop a combined facility.
The Council will be consulting specifically on a number of projects in the Draft Annual Plan. The library building is below the recommended minimum size for the population of its catchment area and has limited space for programmes it runs. An extension is proposed in the LTP for 2016/17 and the council is looking to scope this project in 2014/15, including developing concept designs. This will enable a more accurate cost estimate for the 2015/25 Long-Term Plan.
Parks projects have been proposed, including improvements in Queen Elizabeth Park to the younger children's section of the Kids Own Playground and a playground in McJorrow Park. In QE Park, the rejuvenation work will continue and include a project, with community volunteer input, to upgrade the island in the lake.
The dog pound will be upgraded to meet legislative requirements and this could be a shared Wairarapa pound on a new site or on the existing Masterton site.
Two items the council is seeking feedback on are a proposal to develop an enclosed dog exercise area where dogs could be off the leash. An increase in dog registration fees would be needed to fund this. The council is also interested in feedback on whether there is public demand for its meetings to be broadcast or live-streamed online.