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The Tasman District Council adopted its Long Term Plan today with a general rate increase for the 2012-2013 year set at 3.63 percent.
When the draft was released for consultation earlier in the year it proposed a general rate increase of 4.75 percent for the next year. After considering over 900 submissions and a great deal of work by Councillors, submitters and staff, the priorities were identified and the budgets were aligned and reshaped. The overall rates change for ratepayers will vary depending on the range of targeted rates that each property receives and the effects of recent property revaluations.
In adopting the Plan Mayor Richard Kempthorne said that the Long Term Plan process was an ideal time for residents and other stakeholders to contribute to the future direction of the District and to identify their priorities. Overall priorities in the final Long Term Plan are:
"Of note was the external impact on Council costs, for example the costs of the Emissions Trading Scheme on waste management and the Government has not increased its contribution in line with inflation for transport costs, including road maintenance. Without this inflation adjustment Council has been forced to reduce some transport services.
"Debt management was a recurring theme from submitters and was never far from Council deliberations. As the District grows there is a need for sound management of debt. The final Plan has a slightly lower projected debt level of $310.8 million, by 2021/2022, compared to $317 million proposed in the draft Plan. Council will continue to review major capital expenditure and aim to reduce long term debt levels.
"We are also well aware of the need to align with our local Council partners’ plans and we are already looking for opportunities to work closely with Nelson City and Marlborough District and other South Island Councils to deliver services more efficiently and effectively.
"A number of projects planned in future years will be reviewed with an undertaking to further refine the funding models and costs, for example, the Lee Valley Community Dam.
"Although the largest proportion of expenditure is for core infrastructure there are a number community projects also planned for the next ten years, including the upgrade of the Motueka Library and a community facility in Golden Bay.
"While I am confident we have achieved a balance of need and cost we will continuously monitor the impact and efficacy of these decisions and if necessary review them as part of future Annual Plan processes," Mayor Kempthorne concluded.
The Council thanks all the submitters to the plan and everyone who took time to read the Draft Plan or Summary.