Councillors trim rates further

Councillors trim rates further

Thursday, May 31, 2012

South Taranaki is looking at a smaller rates rise than projected after Councillors met to consider submissions to its proposed Long Term Plan yesterday (Wednesday 30 May).

Despite having received funding requests totalling more than $3.4million over the next 10 years, the Council was able to trim its proposed rate increase from 4.7% to around 4.4% while also being able to accommodate some of the funding requests for the next three years.

Over $3 million in savings were also found by using sand filters in the new Waimate West Water Treatment Plant instead of the more expensive membrane filters.

Mayor Ross Dunlop says he was pleased the Council was able to accommodate some very worthwhile community organisations and projects while also sticking to a very prudent Plan.

The biggest winner in terms of funding requests was the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust, which will get $50,000 a year for the next three years, just $10,000 less than they requested. The Trust presented more than 500 submissions of support for their request.

Pae Pae in the Park organisers will get $10,000 for the 10th anniversary celebrations in 2013, followed by $5,000 for the next two years.

Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (TAFT) will continue getting $30,000 for the next three years, while the Taranaki Art Awards held in Opunake will receive $10,000.

Opunake's Sandford Events Centre annual grant was increased from $25,000 to $40,000 and the Hawera Citizen’s Advice Bureau also received an increase of $3,000.

The Council also resolved to gift land it owns in Opunake to the Coastal Taranaki Health Care Trust so it can build a new health and medical centre in the town and also to incorporate the new public toilets it was planning to build into the new facility.

Other funding requests from the Opunake Community Baths Society, for new roofing, and the South Taranaki Museum Trust for $200,000 towards stage two of its redevelopment will be considered as part of a capital funding review which will take place before final adoption of the Long Term Plan. Any decision on financial support for Everybody's Theatre in Opunake will be deferred until public consultation has taken place and detailed project plans are available.

Lowering dog fees while raising fines for errant owners was supported by the vast majority of submitters, as was the Government's Warmer Homes scheme and selling the Sherwood Flats in Patea. The $450,000 allocated to upgrade Hawera Holiday Park will be kept in the budget however work will not proceed until a thorough cost/benefit analysis has been done and Council CEO Craig Stevenson believes that figure could be lowered further without major alterations to the designs.

All decisions made at Wednesday’s deliberation meeting become effective when the Council formally adopts the Long Term Plan on 29 June.


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