Political desire forced Whanganui's average rate rise for this year down to 1.9 per cent from an earlier projected 2.9 per cent.

The 1 per cent saving was achieved by $306,490 worth of cuts to services and includes $248,600 from deferring maintenance, a saving of just over half a million dollars.

Figures released by the Whanganui District Council reveal exactly how that was achieved.

"Every year we face a balancing act of trying to keep rates low, managing our debt and delivering a high level of service," council's finance general manager Mike Fermor said.

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There was a political desire to keep any rates rise to a minimum without significantly impacting service, he said.

In deciding what services to cut, the council's management worked with councillors on which services to reduce, "with the final decision made by councillors".

"There will be no significant impact on the community from any of these reductions," Mr Fermor said.

"The majority of this deferred maintenance was the result of managers reviewing the condition of assets and deciding that the scheduled maintenance could be deferred without reducing the effectiveness ... "

He said it was too early to determine what impact, if any, deferred maintenance from this year would have on future rates.

"Any deferred maintenance will impact on future costs, provided that maintenance is carried out.

"As with any other costs or service levels, deferred maintenance from [this year] will need to be considered as we start work on the 2018-28 Long Term Plan.

"All projects, levels of service and costs will be reassessed and prioritised as part of the Long Term Plan."

Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall was happy with the balance achieved.

"It's not so much a loss as more a very considered look at what can be deferred," he said.

"There's no point in redoing carpet, for example, when it doesn't need to be done.

"Really when we get advised that there's no significant impact on the community [from cuts], how can you resist that? I think that's the key."

* The council has begun work on the 2018-28 long term plan where levels of service, affordability, debt levels and long-term sustainability will be considered.

What was cut
Reduction service levels

Funding for Museum $50,000
Heritage building preservation $30,000
Youth Committee - general expenses $30,390
Pools - SLA contract $20,000
Waste minimisation $10,000
Mainstreet contract SLA $20,000
Advertising -Opera House/Civil Defence $28,000
War Memorial Centre - security $15,000
Whanganui & Partners catering $5000
City Water Supply - Chlorine $25,000
Stormwater separation - consent expenses $18,000
CBD - asset replacements / consultancy $5,100
10 Year Plan, activity and service review, audit and risk $50,000
$306,490
Deferred expenditure

Opera House - carpet replacement $39,000
Library - replace skylights $75,000
War Memorial Centre - handrail $30,000
Basin - toilet blocks and house maintenance $3200
Cemetery - shower maintenance $3000
Cooks - grand stand decorations $23,000
Bens place walkway $20,000
Peat St - Great North Road walkway $7000
Virginia Lake - contractors shed $3800
Observatory $7000
Pools - exterior decorations $37,600
$248,600
Total budget cuts $555,090