Water users given options

Who pays for bringing a once private water scheme up to national drinking water standards?

That was the question considered by councillors at a full meeting of the Central Otago District council this week.

Tasked with deciding on the payment options for the affected members of the Ripponvale water upgrade scheme, councillors approved offering the 73 existing ratepayers, all former members of the Ripponvale water scheme, the option to opt into a one-off payment for the upgrade of the scheme via a one-off capital contribution of $4726 including GST.

That would be payable either by a single instalment due in August, or over four quarterly instalments during the 2022-23 rating year.

Councillors also resolved to set a 10-year targeted rate to the 73 ratepayers — a fixed rate of $602.57 including GST for each of the years.

The targeted 10-year rate was the default position of all existing Ripponvale community members who did not elect to accept the opportunity to pay the $4726 during the 2022-23 rating year

In her report, council corporate services executive manager Leanne Macdonald outlined the background.

At a meeting in November 2020, the council agreed to take over responsibility for the ownership and operation of the Ripponvale scheme.

During that meeting, councillors also agreed properties on the Ripponvale scheme would pay half the $600,000 plus GST costs of upgrading the Ripponvale network to meet the New Zealand drinking water standards and minimum engineering standard requirements.

Councillors also agreed existing properties on the Ripponvale community water scheme would have the option of paying their share of the $300,000 plus GST, by either a lump sum payment in the year one of the scheme or as a targeted rate.