Rate rise of 2.9pc lower than expected

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2014

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The Southland District Council has adopted its Annual Plan for 2014-15.

There will be a smaller overall rate increase of 2.95 per cent, down more than 2 per cent on previous projections.

Mayor Gary Tong said the year ahead would be a busy one for the council.

There were several major projects under way including the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail, water and wastewater upgrades, road rehabilitation, and continuation of the Te Anau wastewater upgrade project.

The formal adoption of the Annual Plan comes after submissions were made and heard on the draft Annual Plan.

Southland District Council finance and corporate services manager Bede Carran told councillors at the meeting there were only a few changes made to the draft plan after the submission process.

The district council has pulled its funding from the Our Way Southland project, Carran said.

The project was funded by all four southern councils and aims to identify and address key issues and problems in the region.

While the council supported the idea of the project and was committed to its outcomes, it was following the Invercargill City Council's lead in stopping funding.

Funding allocated to Our Way Southland would now be available for specific projects within the Southland District that supported the project's outcomes, Carran said.

While Our Way Southland lost its funding, several organisations came into some much needed cash after the submission process.

Among the recipients were the Southland Warm Homes Trust, which will receive $35,000 per year for two years.

The first year would be funded from council reserves and the following year from rates.

Sport Southland's Swim Safe programme also got funding approval for $20,000 for the next three years.

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