Ratepayer proposals would push rates beyond inflation

If the council decided to add all submitted requests, the rates rise would increase to 2.43%.

Waitaki ratepayers could see the rates rise projected for next year increase by a small amount if the Waitaki District Council meets the requests of some residents.

On Wednesday next week, the council meets to consider public submissions on its 2010-11 draft annual plan and budget which projected a 1.8% overall increase in the rates take - less than the 2% inflation rate.

A report for that meeting investigated submission requests and costed them out.

If the council decided to include all the submitted requests, the rates rise would increase to 2.43%.

However, because of the nature of the extra expenditure, most ratepayers would not see any major monetary change to what was predicted they would pay next financial year. That is because a major portion of the extra 0.63% is caused by requests from individual water committees to increase rates, mainly to recover deficits, and an unchanged Oamaru business rate.

The council proposed reducing the business rate, but after a request from the Otago Chamber of Commerce, it will be held at its present level.

Water scheme rates are paid by individual consumers on the schemes while the business rate targets only businesses, leaving normal ratepayers unaffected.

Not all the extra recommended items would be paid for by rates - some could come from reserves, loans or other sources.

Extra items requiring rates input amount to about $150,000, increasing the 2010-11 drafts rates take from $24.19 million $24.34 million.

One of the major items to add to the budget is $75,000 for an events co-ordinator under the Waitaki Development Board, with funding from the business rates reserve.

Both the board and Otago Chamber of Commerce supported the new position, which would provide assistance and advice to volunteer organisers planning events, including marketing, business and risk planning.

The co-ordinator would also boost existing events and identify new ones to encourage more visitors to the district.

Other items recommended for inclusion are (with funding sources in brackets):

• $5000 for the Victorian heritage celebrations (business rate).

• Public toilets for Elephant Rocks at Duntroon $10,000 (half Waitaki Development Board, half economic development fund).

• Quailburn Rd, Omarama, wilding pines removal $15,000 (rates).

• Shag Point civil defence siren $12,000 (rates).

• Permanent power supply in Oamaru Gardens band rotunda lawn $10,000 (bequests or non-rate sources).

• Penny-farthing promotion for Oamaru $7000 (business rate).

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz


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