Proposed rates rise cut by half

By Mike Barrington

Northland Regional Council has more than halved a general rates increase proposed for the year from June 30.

The authority's draft annual plan for 2013/14, to be released for public comment on Saturday, says a 6.45 per cent average rates increase signalled in last year's Long Term Plan (LTP) has been reduced to 3 per cent.

The planned trim to expected fees for ratepayers in the coming year has been attributed to the NRC taking a close look at its budget and projected investment earnings rising $440,578 from $3.58 million forecast in the LTP.

The increase in investment earnings is largely driven by expected higher returns from NRC shares in the Marsden Pt port.

Council chairman Craig Brown said the draft annual plan contained little that was not planned - and consulted on - as part of last year's LTP process.

"This includes the use of investment income for regional economic development, which councillors believe is a core public service," he said.

Economic development activities include the rescue helicopter, the Northland Events Centre, the Marsden Pt rail link joint venture and fostering new regional business opportunities.

The draft annual plan proposes increasing investments funding for economic development by $118,403 from $463,659 in the LTP to $582,062,

But total operating funding for economic development is projected to drop $358,677 from $4.27 million in the LTP to $3.91 million in the draft plan.

The NRC is forecasting total operational spending of $27.5 million during 2013/14, $13.3 million of which will be spent on resource management.

Another $4.36 million will be spent on transport activity, $2.6 million on river management, $2.3 million on community representation and engagement, $1.6 million on hazard management and $5.74 million on support services.

"Our proposed capital spending for 2013/14 is $7.7 million," Mr Brown said.

"A detention dam designed to reduce the impacts of flooding in urban Whangarei accounts for $6.4 million of this, funded through a targeted rate already established under last year's LTP."

View the draft plan online:

- Northern Advocate

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