Ratepayers in Ruapehu will have to find an extra 3.5 per cent on average to pay their rates in the next year.

The Ruapehu District Council struck the rate this week.

Budget workings had proposed an average rate rise of 4.7 per cent but the council will borrow money for new toilets in Waiouru, rather than put it on the rates.

Ruapehu mayor Don Cameron said council had worked hard to reduce the rate rise to an average 3.5 per cent.

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"It is always very difficult deciding on the right balance between increasing rates or debt levels.

"Council has been very wary of taking on more debt with major capital projects to replace or upgrade Ruapehu's ageing infrastructure on the horizon."

The Waiouru toilets are part of a bigger improvement project, designed to make it a gateway hub to the mountains and other Central Plateau locations.

Mr Cameron said planned expenditure in the 10-year planning block to 2022 had already been reduced by a quarter to "restrain rate and debt increases".