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Council Proposes Draft Long Term Plan Budget

Marlborough District Council is proposing a draft Long Term Plan 2024/2034 budget that sees new investment in the region’s infrastructure, funds repairs to Marlborough Sounds’ roads, provides increases in levels of service and removes the Council’s Covid rates relief subsidy.

This year’s proposed baseline rates increase is 8.47%, which includes inflation and the new wheelie bin service. The removal of the Covid rates relief subsidy, which has kept rates increases down for the last three years, leads to an additional 5.11% increase for this coming financial year. If all proposed levels of service increases and fee reviews are supported by a majority of councillors at this Monday’s Council meeting, the rates increase would be 12.63%.

Mayor Nadine Taylor said it was a challenging time financially for councils and communities right across the country.

“Like every council in New Zealand, we are facing increased costs due to factors outside our control, such as inflation, contract price increases, the on-going impact of damaging storms and the lasting effects of the Covid pandemic.”

“However, unlike some councils we are not proposing to cut services and we’re continuing to invest in core infrastructure - roads, footpaths, waste management, water supply and community services and facilities - because we don’t want to see Marlborough going backwards.”

“Over the next 10 years our investment in infrastructure will be $790M, which is $85M more than our previous ten year plan, from 2021 to 2031. This year’s capital expenditure on infrastructure will be in the order of $80M,” she said.

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“Over the last three years the Covid Rates Relief Fund reduced rates for everyone across Marlborough by the equivalent of $12.8M. This fund now needs to be unwound. A number of options will be proposed at Monday’s meeting to soften the impact of removing this subsidy, including selling up to $4.5 million of Council-owned carbon credits.”

“A number of additional funding requests, including for new repairs and upgrades to stop banks, improvements to parks and reserves and funding a new pavilion at A&P Park in Blenheim, will also be discussed by councillors on Monday.”

“One of the most significant items on Monday’s agenda is the Marlborough Sounds Roading Funding Recovery. Councillors will discuss and decide on the preferred options for funding our local share of the $234 million repair and improvement costs so that we can get on with the job of fixing the Sounds’ roads,” Mayor Taylor said.

The Long Term Plan 2024/2034 will go out for public consultation from 4 April to 6 May and include public meetings and hearings; dates and locations will be confirmed.

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