Council halves predicted rate rise in draft annual plan

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 31/01/2014

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Ratepayers in Rangitikei face a rates rise this year that's about half of what it was predicted to be.

The Rangitikei District Council's new draft Annual Plan had its first public airing at a council meeting yesterday.

It contains an average rates increase across the district of 2.47 per cent. This compares with the increase of 5.8 per cent that had been predicted in the council's Long Term Plan.

"Rates increases are miles below what was forecast in the LTP," Mayor Andy Watson said.

Mr Watson said chief executive Ross McNeil had been asked to look at rating affordability in preparing the plan as a 5.8 per cent increase was too much in the current economic climate.

Mr McNeil said it was also important to the council not to have large discrepancies across the district in terms of rates rises.

"We worked towards a 3 per cent average, trying to keep the top increases at about 12 per cent rather than 20 per cent."

The council exceeded that goal, he said, with all sampled properties facing a rates increase of below 6 per cent other than those that had significant increases in their capital value.

Savings were made by changing the timing of some expenditure, including the Bulls wastewater plant upgrade. This had been scheduled to take place in the next financial year to the tune of $645,000 but had been delayed by discussion on whether to add Sanson and Ohakea to the project.

The draft Annual Plan will go before the council's finance committee next month before being released for public consultation at the end of February.

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- Manawatu Standard

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