Whanganui's average rate rise this year will now be 4.6 per cent following additions to its 10-year plan.

The draft plan had a projected rise of 4.5 per cent but this rose slightly after councillors debated public submissions last week.

Residential properties will bear the brunt of the rise with an average of about 5.6 per cent while farming and commercial rates will rise less than 1 per cent.

The council had previously flagged 2018-19 as being the biggest rates rise in the next decade partly due to the new wastewater treatment plant becoming operational.

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The average annual rise over 10 years of the plan is expected to be 2.4 per cent.

The three major items in the draft plan - a targeted forestry rate to offset damage to roads from harvesting, $25 million over 30 years to upgrade Whanganui's stormwater network and a continuation of the port revitalisation - all made it into the final plan.

Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said the council would also work with the forestry industry to limit its damage to roads and lobby government for funding.

The council's finance general manager, Mike Fermor, told councillors at the plan deliberations the goal was to create a long-term plan that was affordable and financially sustainable.

"Everybody wants less rates, we know that," he said. "But we also want Whanganui to be a great place to live and council has a large involvement in making that happen."

Fermor said the draft rates rise of 4.5 per cent put Whanganui 43rd out of 69 councils they had looked at.

"The average of the ones we could find was about 5.9 per cent. This is not out of the norm," he said.

The plan - which will be signed off in June after it has been audited - has the council opening with $113 million debt which is forecast rise to $123 million by 2020 and fall again to $88 million by 2028.

The plan also budgets for four self-service library hubs at $50,000 each and more funding for the Whanganui Regional Museum which will get an extra $50,000 in the next financial year followed by an additional $50,000.

The further spending added to the budget following submissions includes $80,000 to consider projects such as Waitangi Day celebrations and the Durie Hill elevator tunnel restoration and $15,000 for the Whanganui Earthquake-Prone Building Community Taskforce.

More than 120 submitted to the draft plan.