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Annual Plan Proposal sees reduced rate increase

Annual Plan Proposal sees reduced rate increase

A lower than projected rate increase and strong investment projections were two key features of the South Taranaki District Council’s 2013/14 Annual Plan proposal, which was approved for public consultation at last night’s (Monday 8 April) Council meeting.

South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop says as a result of close scrutiny and a tight rein on spending, the Council was able to reduce the projected rate increase by more than 1%.

The Plan includes a District Rate* increase of 3.7% and sees the Targeted Rates for water, wastewater and kerbside rubbish and recycling rise by $17, $26 and $20 respectively – which represents a total rate increase of just 1-2% for most urban properties. While rates on rural properties proportionately decrease, the recent (2012) independent district property revaluation, which saw an average 8.2% jump in the value of dairy farms, means the average rural property will be looking at a 4-5% increase.

In addition, some rural properties will be impacted by a rating change which would see every dwelling on a farm charged a uniform annual general charge (UAGC).

All residential and commercial properties already pay this UAGC for every dwelling however, until now, rural properties have been exempt. Mayor Dunlop, says the reason for the change is one of equality. “You simply cannot justify charging one type of property with multiple dwellings on it differently to another.”

Mr Dunlop says he was pleased Council was able to significantly reduce its rate increase from that projected in its Long Term Plan without any change to the Council’s service levels or capital works programmes.

Part of the reason for this was Council’s innovative use of bacteria to breakdown wastewater sludge which would otherwise have to be mechanically removed at great cost. “Our bacteria trial to date has shown excellent results with an estimated 22% of the sludge removed. Because of this, the Council has been able to defer almost $3 million of planned expenditure from the 2013/14 budget and if the trial continues to be as successful as it has been to date, it will result in saving $3.7 million over the next four years,” he says.

The Annual Plan proposal is open for public consultation from Wednesday 10 April until Tuesday 14 May.

“This is your chance to let us know what you think about the proposed plan, so please take some time to have a look at it or attend one of our public meetings,” says Mr Dunlop.

Full copies or summary copies of the Annual Plan Proposal will be available from 10 April, on the council’s website www.southtaranaki.com , at any LibraryPlus facility or the Council’s administration building in Hawera.

* The District Rate is made up of the General Rate, Roading Rate and the Uniform Annual General Charge

- ENDS –

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