Council takes long term view on costs

By Erika Venter

Eltham and Kaponga residents' rates will, on average, increase 4.7 per cent in the next financial year and they can expect an average 4.8 per cent increase over the next ten years, as proposed in the South Taranaki District Council's draft 2012-2022 Long-Term Pan.

The plan, now open for public consultation, shows 63 per cent of total expenditure over the next ten years is on roading (24 per cent), water (21 per cent) and waste (18 per cent).

South Taranaki mayor, Ross Dunlop, says the council has taken a prudent and conservative approach in planning for the next ten years.

``Over the last five years the council has invested heavily in improving the district's water and wastewater infrastructure and community facilities. Because we are now in the enviable position of having completed many of the costly upgrades that many councils are still faced with, the next ten years will be largely about consolidation and maintenance.''

 He says as a result of the global economic uncertainties and in an effort to keep a tight rein on expenditure the council proposes to reduce some previously budgeted expenditure, increase its level of debt repayments and

trial new technology at Hawera wastewater treatment ponds which has the potential to save $3 million.

``The council's key focus over the next three years is on completing our district water infrastructure upgrade programme and planning for our future waste disposal needs.''

Proposals in the draft plan include completing the Eltham water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades ($3.3

million), upgrading Kaponga swimming pool ($505,000), and preparatory work on a regional landfill at Eltham ($310,000).

The Eltham Community Board at its meeting on Monday said they would weigh the local capital projects to determine whether it really is needed and the cost justified, before making their submission.

Public meetings will be held at the Eltham Town Hall on April 23 at 7.30pm, and at the Kaponga Town Hall May 1 at 7pm. A summary and full copies of the plan can be viewed at any LibraryPlus centre, on or call 0800 111 323 for a copy to be sent to you.

- Stratford Press

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