Rating issues top the agenda
Rate increases of between 4 and 7 per cent are being signalled by South Canterbury councils for the coming year.
In the Timaru District a 4.38 per cent budget increase is the starting point, in Waimate it is 5.61 per cent and the Mackenzie, in its long term plan, 6.88 per cent.
Timaru district councillors and community board members will be the first to tackle the rating issue for the 2013-14 year, with the council's three community boards due to consider the draft budget at meetings next week.
The following week councillors will go through the 20mm-thick document prepared by senior management. Three days have been set aside for the exercise.
Timaru's draft budget is showing a 4.38 per cent increase in the rate take with the council requiring $46.74 million (including GST) to operate for the 12 months from July. That increase is less than half the 9.55 per cent increase ratepayers are paying this year. It is also less than the 6.23 per cent increase predicted for 2014-15.
The actual increase individual Timaru ratepayers are likely to face will vary for a number of reasons including the services their property receives, council corporate services manager Tina Rogers said. The cost of having the standard three-bin rubbish collection system was set to increase $10 per property and the sewer charge looks likely to rise from $315 to $348 to help pay for the new $15m wastewater treatment plant.
There appear to be no surprises in the draft budget, with staff having been given a "vigorous directive" to keep costs to a minimum in the coming year, Mrs Rogers said.
Even the number of items on the "additional expenditure requests" list runs to only a dozen at this stage, with the majority of those items having come through the long term plan process.
Waimate mayor John Coles said his council had been very mindful of its expenditure for the coming year. Initially, the draft budget showed an increase in the rate take of 9.6 per cent, but that had been reduced to 5.61 per cent prior to councillors considering it. That was slightly below the 5.8 per cent increase forecast in the council's 2012-2022 long term plan.
The Mackenzie District Council is still to debate its proposed budget, but its long term plan includes a projected rate increase of 6.88 per cent for 2013 to 14. Over the decade from June 2012 till 2022, its annual rating requirement is expected to increase from $5.752m to $8.03m.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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