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Steady-as-you-go annual plan for Tasman
March 3rd, 2016
[by David Armstrong]
Tasman District Council has released its annual plan for the 2016/17 year, reflecting a largely steady-as-she-goes strategy based on last year's Long Term Plan.
The plan will largely please all ratepayers who wanted to see minimal rate rises and lower debt levels, but offers no inspiration to those wanting improved levels of service or new facilities.
Total rates will increase by just 1%, meaning a total rates rise of less than one dollar per week for almost all ratepayers.
Debt will be $12 million less than forecast, but levels of service will not be changed.
Progress will continue on the Queen Street Richmond upgrade, the Golden Bay Community Facility, and stormwater, wastewater and water supply upgrades. Work will also continue on the Waimea Community Dam.
In a press release sent today, Mayor Richard Kempthorne said the Council's Annual Plan for 2016/17 "contained positive news for Tasman residents. Rates for 86% of property owners would go up by less than $1 a week, and a further 12% would see an increase of less than $2 a week.
"The community asked us to limit rate increases, reduce reliance on debt and continue to provide the same levels of service. We made some big changes in order to deliver that and now we're seeing the benefits."
He said the Annual Plan remained true to the Long Term Plan for 2015-2025 that the Council committed to last year after extensive community consultation.
"We're not deviating from the commitments we made to the community during that process.
"New legislation means that because we haven't made any significant changes to our plans for 2016/17, we aren't required to formally consult on the Annual Plan - so people may notice some differences to the way we prepare and adopt the plan compared with other years."
Mayor Kempthorne said councillors and staff would be out and about around the District between now and mid-April to talk to communities about the plan.
"We'll be talking about the facilities and services residents can expect us to provide, our priorities for spending and the new Annual Plan process. We are keen to hear what people think and what they want us to consider for future plans and work programmes.
"This year we'll also be continuing work on the Waimea Community Dam, focussing on meeting the funding challenges of the project before we begin formal public consultation.
"Another major project is the proposed joint regional landfill with Nelson City Council, so we'll be talking to people about that proposal over the next month or so as well."
Details of community meetings and events to learn more about the Annual Plan will be available on the Council's website from 11th March.
Figures released show that net Council debt will be $166.4 million (down from a forecast $178m). There will be $32.5 million budgeted for capital expenditure, $105.9 million for operating expenditure, and total income will be $111.6 million.
Tasman District's projected population will be 48,292, up from 47,898 in 2015, based on 2013 Census figures.
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