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Council Asks Community For Help In Finding The Balance

Timaru District Council is asking the whole community to join the conversation and help guide its priorities over the next decade.

The Council has opened consultation on its draft Long Term Plan, and is asking for public submissions on it before 12 May. The Long Term Plan is a document that sets out council spending, priorities and budgets for the next ten years, it is reviewed every three years.

The plan is now open for consultation at or a hard copy can be picked up in council libraries and services centres throughout the district.

Timaru District Mayor Nigel Bowen said that the focus of this plan was on striking a balance between rates affordability and meeting our levels of service delivery.

“My priorities are getting the basic infrastructure right, then it’s about delivering as many of the things you’ve previously told us you want as we can, while setting our council on a strong and sustainable long-term financial standing,” said Bowen.

“Timaru District has some of the lowest rates in the country, and while on one hand it is a sign the council was run in a fiscally prudent and conservative way, it also meant that in previous years we may not have been putting enough money in the bank to replace our infrastructure when it was needed.

“Events such as the Rangitata Bridge failing a few days ago have brought into real focus the need to ensure our critical infrastructure is in good shape for now and future.

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“You won’t see a proposal to go from the bottom of the rates pack to the top, but our rates need to be set at a sensible level to cover the cost of providing the services you use every day while also ensuring we can replace the pipes, the roads and the bridges when it becomes necessary.

“Ensuring we make careful choices around timing of projects and prudent use of debt means we can deliver the core services our communities require as well as provide the kind of services that make people want to visit and move to our district, and hopefully make it their home.

“We’ve laid out our proposals for the next decade, but it’s not just our plan, it’s a plan we’d love the community to help shape, so make sure you take your time to read it and come back to us with what you think.”

While people can comment on any part of the plan, or any other council matters as part of the process. Four of the main issues that we’re asking for feedback on are:

- Balancing our approach to debt to deliver projects: Do people agree with our proposals to set our debt cap at 2.5 times our income over the ten year plan?

- Ensuring we balance income and costs: How fast should we balance our budget, reduce our deficit and pay off debt?

- Balancing the things you use with the things you enjoy: Have we got the balance of spending right over our ten year plan?

- Balancing user pays with common good: How should we set our fees over the next ten years?

You can provide feedback via our website at or pick up a hard copy form at any council facility and freepost it back to us or drop it back at any council facility.

The consultation period runs from now until 12 May at 5pm.

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