Consensus for rates spending

Waitaki ratepayers are mostly singing from the same song sheet when it comes to which amenities should get funding.

Submissions to the Waitaki District Council draft annual plan reveal residents agreed with the council that funding should be used to improve district roads and solve issues of wastewater in Hampden and land stability in Moeraki.

The draft plan proposes spending $96,000 from rates on a new electronic management system, $583,000 from a loan to upgrade footpaths, kerbs and channelling in Weston,

$48,000 from rates to provide support services to the new North End business park, and $50,000 from business rates for the Waitaki Guardians.

It proposes the council continues funding the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre with $72,000 from rates.

It also proposes setting aside $50,000 to find a solution to land stabilisation in Moeraki, plus spending $52,000 from rates on minor road improvements, $10,000 to improve signage in the Victorian Precinct, and $13,500 from Hampden rates to provide a septic tank-inspection service.

Rates in the Waitaki district would increase by 3.5% if all the proposals were approved.

The only real disparity in submitters' views was over the proposal to fund the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre, with just 56% favouring the proposal.

Louisa Burrell, from Oamaru, said the council was helping the centre to operate ''without a fair share of both income from them to rates from us.''

Margaret Thorn, from Oamaru, said she opposed funding the recreation centre because there appeared ''to be a decreasing number of the public using it''.

Some people agreed with the recreation centre proposal, but with reservations. Ron Sim said he agreed with the principle of funding the centre but only on a user-pays basis.

However, the Oamaru-based St Luke's (Church) social justice committee,

said the recreation centre was a ''worthwhile'' community asset that had a social benefit ''well beyond'' the money invested.

The Waitaki Community Recreation Centre submission said the centre was ''not simply a gymnasium'', but also provided fitness and wellness for a ''wide range'' of the community and external organisations.

Fifteen non-verbal submissions were received. The council will hear 30 verbal submissions on Tuesday and Wednesday.


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