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Council Draft Annual Plan out for Public Feedback

MEDIA RELEASE
Orewa, 28th February 2008
Available for Immediate Release


The Rodney District Council is putting up for public comment a financial programme for 2008/09 that Mayor Penny Webster is calling fiscally responsible and pragmatic.

The 2008/09 Draft Annual Plan is the first for the new Penny Webster-led Council, most of whom were themselves voted in as first-time councillors in October last year.

Mrs Webster says, the Plan, as it was adopted for public submission at today’s Council meeting, is one of consolidation rather than innovation.

“I believe that the people realise that in Rodney we have issues such as the provision of wastewater services to fifteen or more sizeable towns in the district is impossible for local ratepayers to fund. That’s why we are pushing hard for central-government funding for these sorts of projects.

“In the meantime,” she says, “we have to work with what we have, and to bring the people of Rodney in to have their say about what they want, within what we can afford. That’s why the draft is so important for people to read and comment on before we make our final decisions.”

Mrs Webster says staff and Council have worked “long and hard” to try and retain and enhance the council’s core services while facing the challenges of escalating costs and interest charges, and a rating base that’s disproportionately skewed toљ residential and rural ratepayers.

“I think we would all like to broaden the burden on rates, but at the moment we haven’t got the commercial sector we need to do that.

“What we have done in the limited time we have had is to go through this Draft Annual Plan line by line and make the savings we could before setting the proposed rates levels.”

Under those proposed levels, residential property rates will average about $2500 for serviced properties.

Mrs Webster says average increases across the district are higher than she would like, butљ contends that this is again a case of council needing to do so much with so little.

The Council’s total expenditure for the year is expected to be about $230,000,000 or just over $5500 per property.

Mrs Webster says it’s now over to the public to have their say on the final composition of the Annual Plan.

The call for submissions on the 2008/09 Draft Annual Plan begins on March 14 and will last a month. љThe plan itself will be on display at Rodney District Council libraries and service centres or downloadable from the website. www.rodney.govt.nz.from the opening of submissions.

Submissions must be in writing and submitters can ask to be heard in person when the council conducts hearings in April.

The Annual Plan will finalised in June and become operable on July 1.

ENDS

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