Budget fat cut but rates to rise 6%

Vincent Community Board members have ticked the ''no fat'' option on the menu but the Vincent ward component of Central Otago rates will rise by 6%. The board approved its draft estimates last night and managed to whittle down a planned 6.4% increase.

''There is a significant risk with a budget like this, as there's absolutely no fat in it; it's cut to the bone,'' Central Otago District Council corporate services manager Susan Finlay said. The figure will be combined with the district component of the rates to decide the overall increase. Three of the district's four community boards had set their budgets for the coming year and the average district rates rise was still looking to be 5.6%, Mrs Finlay told the board.

The Roxburgh Community Board has agreed to a 5.6% increase in the Roxburgh ward component; their counterparts in Cromwell have approved a 6.8% ward rise and the Maniototo Community Board will consider its estimates tomorrow. Costs of repairing, maintaining and cleaning public toilets throughout the district had increased due to vandalism, she said.

A total of $26,000 has been set aside in the budget for filling in the Clyde pool, which closed years ago. That would come from an investment account rather than from rates, Mrs Finlay said.

New roofing insulation to resolve problems with condensation at the Molyneux Aquatic Centre in Alexandra has also been included in the estimates for the coming year, at an estimated cost of $150,000,.

The Omakau town supply water upgrade had already been postponed a year because of concerns about affordability.