Rate increase less than predicted
Council is finalising its draft Annual Plan for 2011 and will be asking for feedback on it throughout the month of March. The financial estimates and a summary of the plan went to council today (Tuesday). The full draft plan goes to council later this month to be approved for consultation.
The plan is budgeted to cost $71M. Council will collect over half of the cost - $45.3M - from rates. This will require an increase in total rates income of $2.6M, a 6.1% proposed increase from last year.
“This is less than the 6.4% increase for 2011 predicted in council’s Ten Year Plan. It is pleasing to see that the 5% efficiency gains council staff have been working hard to realise have been successful in minimising rate increases for next year,” said chief financial officer, Mike Drummond.
Outside Gisborne our estimates show that rates will decrease in Ruatoria and that most other areas will have an increase of up 4.0%. The exception is Gisborne city. Rates on a residential city property, valued at $280K, will increase by about $170 or 7%. Of this $100 or 4% of the proposed increase relates to the operating costs of the city’s new wastewater treatment plant. Without the wastewater treatment plant, city ratepayers would be facing a 3% increase which is in line with increases across the district.
From 2 March ratepayers will be able to come to council’s website to see how next years proposed rate increase will impact on their property. The rates lookup tool compares rates charged this year, with next years proposed rates. This is one of the most popular services on our website.
“Council is aware that the economic downturn is being felt by many of the district’s residents and has tried hard to minimise increases. The plan reflects a business as usual year. We are focused on maintaining all services and prioritising capital expenditure that is essential to the functioning of the community,” said Mayor Meng Foon.
Work will continue on realigning the Waiapu River to protect the Ruatoria township from floods and repairs to the Waipaoa River Protection scheme will be made ahead of a more comprehensive upgrade after 2011.
The War Memorial Theatre upgrade will begin soon subject to all funding being in place. Council is seeking 75% of the $3.5M required from external funding sources. Council is still committed to extending the network of cycle lanes, footpaths and walkways but New Zealand Transport Agency’s decision to reprioritise their spending in this region has affected how much progress can be made. Other major projects like the multipurpose recreational facility and redevelopment of the Olympic Pool and inner harbour are still in the council’s Ten Year plan but have been pushed back until the community is better placed to fund them.