Rate rise under 5pc for most in region

Horizons Regional Council has settled on a 6.1 per cent average rates increase, though the real impact will range between 4 per cent and 20 per cent, depending on where ratepayers live.

Whanganui residents will be the worst hit, with an estimated increase of about 20 per cent as the council pays the more than $400,000 bill for Anzac Parade's flood works in one year.

The 20 per cent figure was an estimate from chief financial officer Ed Cherry, who said the increase would be less for the rest of the area covered by Horizons.

"The average is definitely under 5 per cent for everybody else," Cherry said.

Having spent two days on the draft Annual Plan last week, councillors met again yesterday to make their final decisions on the document, which will be audited before it is signed off at the end of June.

They had already made a number of decisions last week, though some of these were revisited and re-debated, including the time frame for paying the flood work bill in Whanganui.

Councillor David Pearce, a Whanganui representative, said the one-year repayment had been requested by the city's submitters and was only a one-off, and the pain was only for one year.

Given Grey Power was among the submitters asking for the one-year option, which will cost ratepayers up to $106 each in the city, Pearce said he was comfortable with it.

The council revisited last week's decision to increase the living heritage budget by $46,000, and decided to fund half of that from this year's surplus.

Councillor Murray Guy questioned a $10,000 increase in the council's annual $80,000 grant to the Rangitikei Environment Group that was voted on last week.

Guy said it had been passed with little discussion after chairman Bruce Gordon suggested it.

Guy suggested dropping the grant to $85,000 instead of the new figure of $90,000.

Gordon said REG was being asked to do more work by the council than in previous years and it had not had an increase in the six or seven years it had received council funding.

"I think it's still money well spent," Gordon said.

Councillors agreed and kept the grant at the new $90,000 level.

Councillors also endorsed supporting a plan suggested by the New Zealand Army for a walking and cycling path to Linton Military Camp from the Fitzherbert Bridge.

Manawatu Standard