Lawrence ratepayers may face rise of 10%

The draft rates rise in the Clutha district has been kept to an average 3.59%, but Lawrence ratepayers could face a rise of about 10% because of big projects in the township.

The rates bill for the median Lawrence property could rise from $1733.90 to $1911.72. On the other hand, Kaitangata would have the smallest rise of 0.04%, from $1789 to $1789.64.

The council started yesterday's rates meeting looking at a projected rise of 8.69% and Mayor Bryan Cadogan said the council had worked hard to trim the budget.

"I'm thrilled that the increase is under the rate of inflation, but now is the time to get involved and have your say," he said.

He acknowledged some communities faced far greater increases than others.

"Lawrence is seeing a 10% increase because of a combination of projects, particularly with the upgrades of the main street and sewerage."

The sewerage upgrade in Lawrence would mean a $100 rise for the average property while the new recreation centre and recycling collection scheme would cost under $20 each.

Under the draft plan, Owaka and Stirling face the next highest rises, of 7.91% and 7.47% respectively.

Roading was one of the major cuts from the long-term plan, as the council planned to put all unsubsidised seal extensions for 2011-12 on hold, and review whether to introduce them in the next long-term plan.

Two major funding projects, the main street upgrade in Balclutha and the West Otago health grant, have been deferred until the 2011-12 financial year.

Water upgrades were under way at Balclutha, Kaitangata and Lawrence, and the upgrade of the Tapanui supply was nearly completed.

• The draft annual plan is due to be released to the public on Monday, beginning a four-week consultation period with submissions closing on May 9.

The council will meet to consider submissions and debate changes on May 26 before adopting the final annual plan and striking the rates on June 16.

- helena.dereus@odt.co.nz

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