Nelson rates rise at 3.7 per cent

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 13:00 30/05/2014

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Nelson ratepayers can expect a 3.7 per cent rates rise this year with most of the increase earmarked for servicing debt caused by recent floods and storms.

The council finished deliberating on public submissions to its draft annual plan yesterday and decided to stick with the core of the plan, but provided extra funding for some submitters.

World War I commemorations are set to get a boost from $10,000 to $50,000 with an additional $100,000 for the Nelson School of Music to provide services.

Councillors agreed to allocate $100,000 for parking initiatives to get more people into the city to support businesses.

The Kahurangi Employment Trust may also get $15,000, subject to a council staff report.

A sum of $50,000 was allocated for investigating options for improving the stormwater system through the Wakapuaka flats from Glen Rd to Boulder Bank Drive.

Extra funding for projects already under way was provided - with $100,000 to get the latest technology to investigate leaking pipes along the Atawhai rising main pipe.

Recently a leak on that line saw sewage leak into the Haven. Another $25,000 annually has been earmarked for stock effluent to be trucked to Bell Island, and a one-off $50,000 payment will be put towards soil testing at council work sites.

Despite these changes, the rate rise was kept the same as it was at the beginning of the process.

There were a few controversial issues leading to heated debate among councillors, but generally discussions were amicable. Councillors often put forward alternatives or asked for more work to be done by council staff, but the council's chief executive, Clare Hadley, reminded them they needed to prioritise the work they wanted with the staff available at the council.

Mayor Rachel Reese said some people would not approve of the rates rise, but it was necessary to invest in the community and city for generations to come.

She congratulated the councillors on working "damn hard" at the end of the 2 days of discussions.

It was the first annual plan process that councillor Gaile Noonan had been through and she thanked council staff for their work, noting they were often sending emails late into the evening.

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- Nelson

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