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Waitaki rates set to rise

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 14:07 19/06/2014
waitaki district council
ON THE RISE: The Waitaki District Council has confirmed rates will rise by 2.96 per cent.

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A rate increase of 2.96 per cent has been set by the Waitaki District Council.

While the figure is marginally higher than the increase proposed in the council's 2014/15 Draft Annual Plan, it's slightly less than the 3 per cent starting point councillors began with.

Councillors looked at the 2014/15 budget at a meeting last Wednesday after considering 80 submissions received on the Draft Annual Plan.

In the draft plan it was proposed rates increase by 2.6 per cent, with council collecting $29.016 million.

After hearing submissions a handful of extra projects were included which saw council start with a proposed increase of 3 per cent, collecting $29.122m.

After making adjustments council finalised the 2.96 per cent increase, which will see council collect $29.106m.

This financial year, council is collecting $28.27m.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher says the increase is "more than what we wanted".

However, a desperate need to maintain the district's rural roads has accounted for a large portion of the rise.

"A big chunk of the increase is the extra spending on the rural roads, that accounts for over half of the increase."

An additional $635,000 has been allocated for rural roading, of which $402,900 will come from rates and the remainder from depreciation.

"It's something we've got to do to make sure our rural roads can keep up with the activity going on in our rural areas."

Kircher says the increased spend will benefit the local economy down the line.

In other areas, the Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust's funding has been trimmed from $220,000 to $200,000, while $20,000 allocated for the Gigatown competition has been redirected.

Kircher says Oamaru's participation in the competition has been "worthwhile". However, he believes the value of the prize on offer is "diminishing".

Other items in the rates spend include a $300,000 loan to support the Alps 2 Ocean cycleway, $50,000 for erosion protection on coastal roads, $42,000 for sealing the Farmers' Market car park and $20,000 for additional costs at the Ahuriri and Hampden waste transfer stations.

Items also include up to $15,000 for a bus shelter on Eden St, $13,000 to the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust, $12,000 for mountainbike tracks at Cape Wanbrow, $10,000 to Tourism Waitaki for signage and $4000 to the East Otago community swimming pool.

The 2014-15 Draft Annual Plan will be formally approved on June 25.

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- The Timaru Herald

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