New cost-saving measures and the scrapping of council-funded
road safety courses in schools are expected to result in a
lower-than-expected rate rise in Waitaki.
The Waitaki District Council committee of the whole resolved
this week to recommend the council stop paying for three
unsubsidised road safety education programmes in schools in
Pulling out of the education programmes would save the
council about $5000. Mayor Alex Familton said the Government
had "stepped back" from funding similar programmes, and it
was not the council's job to fill the gap.
"Ratepayers should not be subsidising taxpayers. School are
funded [by the Government] and we should not presume to
double check that funding. It is up to us to keep pressure on
The committee recommended that the council still provide
$11,658 towards a road safety media project at Oamaru
Intermediate school, and more than $75,000 for six other
projects, which would receive 66% of their funding from the
New Zealand Transport Agency.
It was also recommended that the council save $39,000 by not
funding public alert sirens, and that it set aside $50,000 to
conduct investigations, in consultation with the public, on
how to solve land stability issues at Moeraki.
Although committee chairman Cr Jim Hopkins said it was still
very early in proceedings, it was hoped that the projected
4.7% rate increase for the year, forecast in the council's
long-term plan could be lowered.
He said a 3.8% increase or less was achievable with
efficiencies introduced by council staff.
"We are clearly mindful of our community's desires." Mr
Familton said he, too, hoped for only a modest rate increase.
The draft annual plan would not be completed until February
and the final plan would not be adopted until March, but
council policy manager Fraser Liggett said starting
discussions now would allow for a "more meaningful
conversation" in the new year regarding potential rate
However, a public consultation phase was yet to come and the
final plan could still change.