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Ruapehu Ratespayers Urged to Think Long Term

Ruapehu Ratespayers Urged to Think Long Term About the Bigger Picture

Ruapehu District Council (RDC) is asking ratepayers to consider two possible rate rises as part of the consultation on their Annual Plan for the coming financial year.

The lower proposed average rate increase of 4.7% is considered to be the absolute minimum level required to maintain key infrastructure assets.

Debt would remain the same but levels of service would fall in some areas.

An alternative 7.6% rate rise would allow council to maintain existing levels of service and ensure that Ruapehu’s basic infrastructure remains at its current level or improves.

RDC Chief Executive, Peter Till, said that consecutive year-on-year rate rises have been kept around the 3-4% mark which has been achieved by deferring or deleting infrastructure development projects.

“The continual push to keep rates as low as possible has resulted in a ’bow wave’ of these deferred or deleted projects that are now coming to a head in the form of lower levels of service and other associated risks,” he said.

“Examples include; an increased likelihood of pipe failure in the aging wastewater network in Ohakune and Taumarunui which may result in raw sewerage seeping into groundwater and waterways, many small community items such as footpath cleaning, bus shelters and pram crossings will not be budgeted for, and more serious items such as fixing footpath tripping hazards, and the cleaning kerb and channels will be reduced.”

Mr Till said that council acknowledged that the higher proposed 7.6% rate increase would be a difficult consideration for many Ruapehu ratepayers however he urged them to think long term about the bigger picture.

“If ratepayers cannot accept the higher rate proposal they need to think about and advise council what services are more important to them,” he said.

“More information on the draft Annual Plan is available from any council office or on-line from www.ruapehudc.govt.nz

“Community organisations, businesses or other special interest groups can also organise to have a presentation from council on the draft plan if they wish.”

Submissions close on Tuesday 22 April 2014.

ENDS

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