Residents relieved as council abandons targeted rates plan

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 09/06/2014

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South Invercargill residents will not be digging any deeper into their pockets after the council decided to scrap a proposal for a targeted rate for the area.

The controversial scheme detailed in the draft annual plan suggested south Invercargill residents would pay an extra rate to continue the employment of a South Alive co-ordinator.

But the idea rankled with many, including shopkeepers, residents and former council stalwart Thelma Buck.

Buck was so aggravated by the "unfair" idea that she printed hundreds of submission forms and handed them out in the South City shopping area. Her approach seems to have worked, with the council flooded with submissions against the proposal.

Buck said she was delighted the council planned to drop the rate.

"I am pleased that we are not having a special rate for South Invercargill."

She was overwhelmed by the number of people who supported her views but said she was not out to convince people to submit against the idea, but simply get people involved in the council's decision process.

"I will be pleased when they pass it that they have dropped it."

Urban rejuvenation committee chairman Neil Boniface said the proposal for a targeted rate probably lacked research.

"It was probably a bit premature and there wasn't enough preparation and homework done."

Boniface said South Alive would be able to apply for funding through the urban rejuvenation fund like it had done previously, but the committee could consider appointing one fulltime co-ordinator to work with all the suburb rejuvenation projects.

South Alive chairman Colin Anderson said the group respected the council's decision.

The targeted rate would have given security of funding for the group, but they had continued to apply for grants and funding from a wide variety of groups in the meantime, he said.

"We haven't been sitting on our hands."

The council had got "good value" for its money from South Alive and he hoped it would continue its support, Anderson said.

The council will formalise its decision tomorrow at the full council meeting. louise.berwick@stl.co.nz

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