Council approves 9.9% rates rise

The Waimate District Council has approved a proposed rates increase of 9.9%.

The increase, which is 2.3% higher than the 7.6% in the 2021-31 long-term plan, was voted on by councillors at Tuesday’s council meeting.

In a statement yesterday, the council said the increase would allow the council to push ahead with the Waimate Library extension and refurbishment, new public toilets in Seddon Square and the refit of the council chambers and meeting room.

Both the library extension and toilets were budgeted in several long-term plans.

"In addition to these scheduled upgrades, the budget increase supports council’s ability to meet current and emerging work-streams including road asset information, asset management administration and a variety of government reform activities," the statement said.

The 2.3% increase in this year’s annual plan budget included other factors such as employment cost increases, increases in election costs and audit fees.

"Budgets have been updated to reflect the current best estimates to achieve the same levels of service as set out in the LTP [long-term plan], resulting in an increase to the overall level of rates required."

The revised budget allowed the council to recruit a climate change/biodiversity officer, jointly funded by Environment Canterbury, aligned with the council’s direction and local action on climate change.

The library upgrade was budgeted for $1.65 million, taking into account costs incurred in last year’s local government building upgrades, because of flooding.

"The flood recovery work included upgrades to the front offices, replacement of carpet in the library and a replacement roof — all deemed as matters of priority and leaving a remaining LTP budget of $960,000.

"The proposed project cost increase equates to an overall rateable impact of approximately $38,000 in the upcoming financial year — proving minor overall."

The 2022-23 annual plan is expected to be adopted by June 30.

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