Expect a rates rise of 3.81pc

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2014

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Rates are expected to increase by an average of 3.81 per cent under the Timaru District Council's proposed budget.

Councillors finished debate on the budget shortly after lunch yesterday. They had set aside three days.

Mayor Damon Odey said it was a credit to the work of management and councillors over the last month. "Everyone's been really thorough; I think this is a pretty solid budget."

After some number-crunching from district services manager Ashley Harper, who tallied up the figures on a white board, the council agreed to a proposed total rate requirement increase of 3.81 per cent.

Much of the increase was due to the projected cost of upgrading the district's water and sewer networks ($12 million), and roading projects (about $14m).

However, there were several extra items to consider yesterday.

These included proposals to increase the funding for unsealed roads (from the previously budgeted $380,000 to $480,000), upgrade the car parking at the CBay Aquatic Centre ($200,000) and replenish the disaster relief fund ($150,000).

Cr Kerry Stevens said the extra funding for unsealed roads was a "must-have, not a nice-to-have".

Mr Odey said replenishing the disaster relief fund by $150,00 was essential, as last year's flooding and storms had wiped out a huge chunk of it. "It would be a disaster not to replenish it."

The councillors also agreed to spend $30,000 on improving Geraldine and Temuka's footpaths.

Meanwhile, the councillors have proposed supporting the Timaru Botanic Garden's 150th anniversary celebrations ($7500) and preparing a structural report on the Theatre Royal ($10,000) for its proposed upgrade in the 2015-16 year.

A greater than expected dividend from the council-owned Timaru District Holdings Ltd shaved an extra $200,000 off the draft budget.

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- The Timaru Herald

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