Vincent ward rates rise 2.8%

Vincent ratepayers face a ward rates increase of 2.8% for the coming year, after community board members trimmed the budget back to "needs, not wants".

The board considered its estimates yesterday , starting the meeting with a proposed 5.3% increase in the ward component of the rates, which was eventually whittled down to 2.8%.

Board member Tim Cadogan said in the current recession it was important for the board to be seen to "focus on needs, not wants".

Ratepayers will have to wait until the district component of the rates has been decided before they know the overall impact of the rate take.

The Central Otago District Council meets later this month to decide on that portion of the rates but community boards make a recommendation to the council about the budgets for services, assets and amenities in their respective wards.

Cromwell has recommended a ward rates rise of 8.3% and Maniototo voted for a ward rates increase of 5%. The Roxburgh board considers its estimates tomorrow.

The revised draft Vincent ward rate take was $4,896,397, compared with the initial proposed rate take of just over $5 million.

One of the big capital expenses in the coming year's budget was $855,000 for upgrading the Alexandra wastewater treatment plant. The work was needed to meet the requirements of the Otago Regional Council, the board heard.

A figure of $57,162 was in the budget for repairs and maintenance to Alexandra's Molyneux Stadium.

"It's a disgrace, it really is, " board member Graeme Bell said. The building was well overdue for maintenance and the exterior needed painting, he said.

The future of the building has yet to be determined.

The cost of burials at the Alexandra Cemetery is set to rise by 20%, to meet the increasing cost of maintaining the cemetery. Burial fees will increase from $585 to $700 for a standard burial at Alexandra.



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