ORC vote reduces rates

Duncan Smith, one of the favourites for tomorrow’s Dion Wells Memorial bodyboarding event at St...
Duncan Smith, one of the favourites for tomorrow’s Dion Wells Memorial bodyboarding event at St Kilda beach, competes off the Catlins coast. Photo by Chris Garden
The debate over Awatea St might have dominated Otago Regional Council's annual plan discussions, but it should not overshadow a rates decrease and growth in core business, councillors say.

At yesterday's full council meeting, councillors voted to approve the 2008-09 annual plan, which incorporates three amendments to the 2006-16 long-term council community plan (LTCCP).

It also included a general rates decrease of 3.86%, compared with the predicted 10% increase indicated in the LTCCP.

Cr Duncan Butcher said the main contributor to this was the move away from all ratepayers paying for compliance monitoring, to consent holders paying 50% of the costs.

This meant $425,000 of costs would be funded by fees and charges, instead of general rates.

The new plan also signalled a 25% increase in bus fares, which had remained unchanged since 2003, despite increased costs of running services.

Fares would go up on July 28, but the 10% discount for using a GoCard would remain.

Further improvements to the city's bus system were also planned, with a 42% increase in the transport rate, increasing the take from $2.4 million this past year to $3.4 million in 2008-09.

Cr Stephen Woodhead said the stadium proposal would not affect the council's core business, as the annual plan showed.

"Core business has grown."

It included the Leith Lindsay flood protection scheme, work on the Shotover Delta, changes to the Regional Plan: Water, and the introduction of the Bulk Water project.

"We have a very busy year in front of us."

There was also the provision for about 250 homes, within the air quality, airshed 1, to access measures that would help make homes warmer and drier, while reducing air quality concerns.


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