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Expected rates increase lowered again

Expected rates increase lowered again

Palmerston North City Council’s proposed rates increase for 2014/15 financial year has been reduced to 3.9% at today’s Committee of Council meeting.

It’s the second major reduction in the proposed rates increase. Originally the Long Term Plan indicated a 5.5% increase however that was reduced to 4.3% before the plan went out for public consultation.

The reduction has come about due to adjustments to proposed budgets including: an adjustment to grant provisions to reflect 1.6% movement in the CPI ($42,000 reduction in rates); reduction of $400,000 for the Under Veranda Lighting Project following the successful application to Central Energy Trust ($400,000 reduced borrowing and $14,000 reduction in rates); reduction of interest expense provision by $238,000.

Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor says it’s not every annual plan process where you have decreasing rate rises.

“It’s the third year of the Long Term Plan and I think Councillors have balanced listening to the needs of our community while keeping the proposed rates rise to a minimum.”

Palmerston North City Council’s chief executive Paddy Clifford says the adjustments that have been identified are pleasing.

“Mostly the reduction is outside of Council’s control,” he says. “However I’d like to again thank Central Energy Trust for its generosity in supporting the Under Veranda Lighting Project.”

The reduction in the rates increase was presented at today’s Committee of Council which was held to consider public submissions on the draft Annual Plan and decide if they could be accommodated in the Annual Plan. The following amendments were approved:
· An extra $2,000 for the Smokefree Palmy initiative to allow for more signage to go up around the city.
· Addition of $4000 for Arapuke Forest Park development in association with Manawatū Mountain Bike Club.
· Funding for new public toilets on walkways to be increased to $159,000 so that at least two new toilets will be built in the next financial year.
· $5,000 be assigned to look into options for locations and designs for a dog park.
· $35,000 be allocated provide additional bus shelters.
· That $5,000 be added for an investigation into a cycleway from the city to Bunnythorpe.
· Increase of funding for the cycleway between Fitzherbert Avenue Bridge and Linton to $400,000 so as to allow for more the cycleway to be completed.
· That $5,000 to go towards investigating options for reduction or recycling of plastic bags.
· $15,000 be included to provide for a single non-fluoridated water dispensing tap in the city.

Aside from that a number of items/projects were referred to be considered as part of next year’s Long Term Plan process.

The draft Annual Plan also includes plans to help improve the city’s treated wastewater discharge to the Manawatū River through the installation of a $2.9m disk filtration system. The filter will lower the amount of phosphorus being discharged from the wastewater treatment plant which is aimed at reducing algae growth in the river.

A draft of the Annual Plan will go before the Committee of Council on 16 June for approval. The Annual Plan will then go before Council on 23 June for adoption and for the setting of the rate.


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