Cheaper borrowing for NRC

By Lindy Laird

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NRC chairman Bill Shepherd.
NRC chairman Bill Shepherd.

Low interest rates mean the Northland Regional Council is able to "do more with less by borrowing money cheaper", translating to a rates increase of only a few cents extra a week per property.

The overall $33.6 million budget in the 2016/17 Annual Plan is based on the 2.34 per cent rates increase agreed on last year and outlined in the Long-Term Plan.

Described by the council as "business as usual", the Annual Plan includes a forecast spending increase of less than $1 million across six main areas. The increase in rates to cover some of that amount equated to an average of $4.27 a year, or just over 8c a week per rateable property, said NRC chairman Bill Shepherd. The increase will fund a third of the proposed $990,000 extra spend.

The other two-thirds will be covered largely by low-interest borrowing for infrastructural projects, enabling reserve funds and "efficiencies" to continue earning at a comparatively higher rate.

The council will be able to do more with less by borrowing money more cheaply, Mr Shepherd said.

Ratepayers are invited to let the council know what they think of the 2016/17 Annual Plan. They can offer feedback through the consultation document that highlights the changes from earlier forecasts outlined in the LTP. They include the extra $990,000 funding for: community representation and engagement ($73,000); resource and catchment management ($267,000); river management ($131,500); public transport ($30,000); harbour safety and navigation ($182,000); support services ($306,250).

The feedback period will run until 4pm on Friday, May 6. Give feedback online at www.nrc.govt.nz/annualplan2016, through Facebook or Twitter, or by filling in a feedback form. People can also talk to council members at community meetings by pre-booking speaking times by April 22 (0800 002 004).

- Northern Advocate

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