Stratford council warms to insulation scheme

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 11:27 29/01/2014

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Stratford ratepayers may soon get the chance to opt into a scheme designed to keep them warm, dry and healthier, but not before facing at least one more long, cold winter.

Yesterday, the Stratford District Council voted to include a provision in its 2015-2025 Long Term Plan which could give ratepayers the ability to insulate their homes while paying off the associated cost via their rates.

The voluntary targeted rates scheme aims to give more people a chance to live in warmer homes without needing to have the money upfront to pay for it.

In his report to yesterday's meeting, director corporate services Morkel Swart recommended the council consider the scheme, with a preliminary cap of $3900 per home to be spent on 150 houses around the district per year.

The Stratford council is the last in the region to adopt the scheme, with the New Plymouth District Council and South Taranaki District Council already taking part.

Mr Swart said the scheme had been popular in both North and South Taranaki.

"Both of them gave very good feedback," he said.

He said the project was cost-neutral to council and ratepayers, with administration costs recoverable through the interest charged on repayments made by ratepayers who took up the option. Repayments can be made over a nine-year period with the debt linked to the property, rather than the homeowner.

The programme, an initiative of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), offers another option for people who do not qualify for the Government funded Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes scheme which offers free home insulation to low-income households and in particular homes occupied by children and the elderly.

Mr Swart said EECA would support the council's move to adopt the voluntary scheme by undertaking audits of any work done, as well as providing information to council about the types of products that should be used in future fit-outs.

The public will be able to make submissions on the issue when the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan goes out for consultation next year.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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