Whanganui District Council has officially adopted its annual plan and the 2 per cent average rates rise that comes with it.

But any backslapping for achieving a lower than projected rise will not last long as councillors signalled their intention to continue finding ways to reduce the rates burden.

Councillors met on Tuesday to adopt the plan with some saying keeping rates low would be an ongoing battle.

Helen Craig called the plan a "growth and community focused budget" but warned what was on the horizon.

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"We have delayed some expenses and those expenses at some point will have to be undertaken," she said.

Council needed to focus on growing population, business and jobs, she said.

"That is ultimately how we are going to reduce the overall rates burden."

Alan Taylor said a number of councillors - including his Whanganui Beyond 2030 quartet - were elected on a platform of reducing rates.

"We have achieved that as a council," he said.

"I would remind councillors not to pat themselves on the back too much this year because we have some really important core business that we have not yet funded."

That included the port revamp and new wastewater treatment plant.

Mayor Hamish McDouall said the plan was the culmination of the hard work of chief executive Kym Fell, staff and councillors.

"I'm happy for you guys to take the credit but Kym and I over a beer were already discussing how to get it below two per cent," he said.

Mr McDouall was pleased with the public submission process and said council had responded to concerns such as a proposed $50 wastewater charge for properties not connected to the system which was scrapped.

"The key thing here is we've listened to the public," he said.

"It is a really, really important part of democracy to be face to face with the community saying 'why this? Why not that?'.

"There's an expectation that we are prudent with money and I think this annual plan reflects that prudence."

Councillor Rob Vinsen said it was a plan of bouquets and brickbats.

Money for the velodrome roof, and funding for projects in the central business district and Castlecliff being the bouquets.

"They are progressive projects that will make a difference to Whanganui just like the central city project did in the 1990s."

But he said funding for a new culvert at Onetere Drive - which residents want fixed to reduce flood risk - was not included.

"I just hope that in the next 12 months those people on Onetere Drive do not suffer the hardship from flooding that occurred to them two years ago."

Councillor Kate Joblin said councillors had worked well together "especially the self-proclaimed bad boys amongst us".

"You're actually not bad to work with."