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RDC Strikes Average Rate Increase of 3.5%

RDC Strikes Average Rate Increase of 3.5%

Ruapehu District Council (RDC) has struck an average rate increase of 3.5% for the coming 2014/15 year.

At 3.5% the final average rate increase is well under the proposed rate increase of 4.7% put forward in the draft 2014/15 Exceptions Annual Plan (EAP) for public consultation.

The draft EAP had proposed a minimum average rate increase of 4.7% while asking ratepayers to consider a higher increase of 7.6% to allow Council to maintain existing levels of service and ensure that Ruapehu’s basic infrastructure remained at its current levels or was improved.

RDC Mayor, Don Cameron, said that the key factor that has made the lower 3.5% rate increase possible has been Council’s decision to change the funding for Waiouru’s public toilet development to debt rather than rates.

“Council has worked extremely hard to bring the proposed rate increase in at this level,” he said.

“It is always very difficult deciding on the right balance between increasing rates or debt levels.”

“Council has been very wary of taking on more debt with major capital projects to replace or upgrade Ruapehu’s aging infrastructure on the horizon.”

Mayor Cameron noted that in the current Long Term Plan (LTP 2012-22) Council had already reduced planned capital expenditure by 25% over the ten year period in order to restrain rate and debt increases.

“This EAP continues this strategy even though Audit NZ has previously highlighted the risks associated with this approach.”

“The Waiouru public toilets are part of much bigger main street development project which supports Waiouru’s progress toward being a ‘gateway hub’ to Ruapehu and other central North Island locations.”

“Council sees infrastructure such as the new toilets as a necessary investment if Ruapehu is going to maximise its economic development potential.”

“Capital expenditure in support of economic development is one of the significant issues that Council would urge ratepayers and other Ruapehu stakeholders to inform themselves about so that they can fully engage in the up-coming 2015/25 LTP consultation process.”

“Council has already started meeting with community groups and other sector organisations to talk about the 2015/25 LTP.”

“Anyone who would like more information on the 2015/25 LTP process should contact Council or an elected representative,” he said.


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