Rates rise challenged in public submissions

John Gardyne
John Gardyne
The Gore District Council could come to a final decision next week on how much the district’s rates next week.

At present, ratepayers are facing a rates increase of 21.4%.

A meeting was held at the council chambers last Wednesday and the council discussed feedback it had received last week on its 2024-25 annual plan.

Cr John Gardyne said ratepayers were feeling the pinch.

"In my lifetime as councillor I’ve never seen a 21% rates rise and I don’t want to see one now."

He noted three of local resident Sally McIntyre’s submissions.

She identified some asset renewals she believed were unnecessary and should be removed from the annual plan.

One was the $250,000 resealing of the Gore Airport taxiway.

Cr Gardyne noted that Auckland Council had sold its shares in Auckland Airport and Wellington City Council was going to do the same with its airport.

"This is a thing that should be brought up for our long-term plan ... why should we spend $250,000 if we are considering selling it?"

Cr Bronwyn Reid said the council should reseal it because the council had agreements with those who leased it and they would expect health and safety to be a priority.

Chief executive Deborah Lascelles said the projects mentioned by Cr Gardyne were funded by debt and/or depreciation.

"There will be very minimal impact on rates."

Deborah Lascelles
Deborah Lascelles
Gardens and flowers in the town were also brought into the discussion.

Cr Glenys Dickson noted the high number of submissions that supported not replacing the town’s plants as often.

Thirteen submissions were received: two were in favour of the current plantings and 11 suggested alternative plants should be considered.

Council parks and recreation manager Keith McRobie responded.

"On an annual basis we put in about 26,000 plants, twice a year."

He believed that had been done since 1990.

"I think the simplistic idea of putting perennials in versus annuals is not as straightforward."

Perennial flowers had a two to five-year lifespan in civil areas, he said.

Cr Robert Mckenzie questioned the difference between planting flower beds and having perennials.

"We do all the work in house ...

"In terms of cost, essentially we’ve got three people working in the main street and then we’ve got a couple of people working in the Gore green belt, which includes the gardens."

There was no "obvious" way to save costs on labour, he said.