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The Gore District Council set a lower-than-expected rates increase when it adopted its long-term plan at an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday.
Initially, the expected rates rise for the 2021-22 year was set at 8.22%.
However, a revised roading programme, funding the cost of the district plan by way of a loan and changing the Otama water rate from being fully rate-funded to split between rates and reserves allowed for the decrease.
The 6.42% average increase means Gore residential ratepayers will pay between $156 and $260 more a year, depending on their property value, with Mataura residential ratepayers paying $156 more annually.
This year would be the only year of the plan where the council breached its self-imposed 5%-per-annum cap.
Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said the rates setting and 10-year plan process had been the most challenging in his years as mayor.
‘‘It’s pleasing to get to this stage.’’
The Government’s Three Waters reforms had caused uncertainty about where management and delivery of wastewater, stormwater and drinking water would rest in the future.
However, the council would invest $54.7million over the next decade in infrastructure renewals and upgrades.
Upgrading the Mataura and Gore water treatment plants to fully comply with national drinking water standards was a priority.
It was also agreed the cost of separating wastewater and stormwater pipeline separation in Gore and Mataura would be shared equally between the property owner and ratepayers.