Balclutha rates to rise
Now is the chance to have a say on the Clutha District Council's draft Annual Plan, which is proposing an overall rates hike of more than 3.25%.
The plan, which confirms the projects and services the council intends to provide during the next financial year, is open for public consultation.
Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan said it proposes an overall rates increase of 3.25 per cent, which was down from the 4.33 per cent projected in the Long Term Plan.
''While council was pleased with the overall rates rise figure ... it was important to note that rates changes in individual rating areas varied significantly depending on what was happening in any particular area.''
While rural ratepayers could again expect a negligible rates change, some townships faced hikes ranging from 5.5 to 7.95%, he said.
These included Waihola, where upgrades to the sewage treatment system were needed; Lawrence, where the council was making a loan-funded grant of up to $1.35 million towards the new Tuapeka Aquatic Centre; as well as Kaka Point and Stirling, where in 2012 the council decided to phase in an increased community services rate.
In the plan's summary the mayor noted that roading faced the most significant change.
During the past four years the council put aside $904,000 in a deferred roading maintenance fund, he said.
''However ... in light of central government's continued scrutiny and review of how roading is funded nationwide, we believe it is no longer appropriate that this fund is added to.''
The mayor was keen for public feedback about the proposal, as well as what roading activities the money could best be spent on.
Overall, the submission process was a chance for residents to let councillors know their thoughts before rates for 2014/15 were set, Cadogan said.
''It is my intention to visit each rating community for a 'soap box' session to give you a further opportunity to have your say.''
Soap box sessions will be held in Waihola, Milton, Stirling and Kaitangata on April 19, Balclutha, Clinton, Tapanui and Lawrence on April 26, and Kaka Point, Owaka on May 3.
A full copy of the draft annual plan and summary is available online at cluthajldc.govt.nz/AnnualPlan.htm or from any council office or service centre.
Submissions close on May 12.
The Southland Times