Ashburton District Council has adopted its Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 which sets out the Council's proposed work programme and budget for the coming year.
Mayor Angus McKay says "The work programme and budget outlined in this Plan reflect the remarkable transformation we are undergoing as a growing community and will lay a strong platform for our community for the years ahead."
"It's been a challenge to keep the rates as low as possible as our population grows and community expectations increase. Progress needs to be affordable for our residents and Council must ensure it provides quality and cost effective infrastructure and services to the community it serves," he said.
"This year's focus is very much on the ongoing development of our district and in particular the community facilities we are all able to enjoy," he said.
The Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage Centre will open in October this year and in mid-2015 the EA Networks Centre indoor stadium and aquatic centre will open.
"These two wonderful facilities reflect the dynamism of our district and will make this an even better place to live and raise families for current and future residents," he said.
Council is also proposing to invest more in our district's roading assets.
"Overall our roads are generally good quality. However, some rural roads in particular are not standing up well to additional traffic weight and volumes created by changes in land use," he said.
Mr McKay says Council has recognised there needs to be a focus on how we maintain our roads.
"We have the fourth largest road network in the country and our district relies heavily on having an efficient road network to get our produce to markets, our families to schools, sports and pastimes and to enable us to enjoy the services, facilities and attractions our district has to offer." he said.
Mr McKay says Council will continue to strongly lobby for a fairer contribution from the government to maintain our roads at an appropriate standard.
The Council is proposing an average increase in rates of 7 percent plus a further 1 percent funded by new developments paying rates for the first time.
A summary of the draft Plan will be delivered to all houses in the district on 17 April which will include highlights of the information in the draft Annual Plan.
Councillors and key staff will be available to discuss the Annual Plan at community meetings in Ashburton, Methven, Rakaia, Mt Somers, Hinds and Hakatere in the week of 14 April.
Mr McKay says he and his fellow councillors are unanimous in their call for residents to take an interest in the draft Plan, attend meetings and make submissions on what they like or don't like about the proposed work programme and budget for the coming year.
"The Annual Plan process is an important part of local democracy and we urge residents to get involved and have their say." he said.
*Key points of the Draft Annual Plan 2014/15:
- Increase in overall rate revenue required is 8% of which 1% will be funded from new properties
- Rate increase will vary depending on location and property value. In general, lower valued properties and those in urban areas will see the largest increase. This is largely due to the increase in the uniform annual general charge (UAGC) component of the rates
- Example: Ashburton urban property with a capital value of $241,500, rates are proposed to increase by approximately $144 or 9.2%. This is made up of:
- EA Networks Centre - $54
- Art Gallery and Heritage Centre - $25
- Rubbish and recycling collection and management - $22
- Wastewater - $30 due to increased interest costs as a result of increased capital (including the Ashburton relief sewer)
- Other - $13
Learn more about the Draft Annual Plan 2014/15