Marlborough District Council has announced its funding priorities for the 2023-24 Annual Plan after considering 77 submissions from the public.
Mayor, Nadine Taylor said the Annual Plan process had been particularly challenging in the face of higher than normal levels of inflation and the expectation that the Consumer Price Index will peak at more than 7% in 2023.
“After much discussion and deliberation Council has been prudent in its funding and as a result has managed to keep the rates increase this year at 7.9 per cent, on par with the 7.8 per cent we consulted on,” said Mayor Taylor.
“I’m very aware of the cost of living pressures on households and recognise this is still a relatively high rates increase.
“We have reviewed user pays fees and reduced expenditure where possible. Fees including resource consenting, environmental health and building control are set to increase. By increasing fees we are reducing the impact on ratepayers by just over $1 million. I believe that is a fairer way of spreading costs.”
She said Council has been able to maintain current levels of service across Marlborough.
“It also continues a significant capital expenditure programme focused on our core infrastructure needs, primarily roading, sewerage and water treatment.”
The rates increase includes a one-off grant funding of $31,462 for the Marlborough Stadium Trust and a $100,000 funding increase for the Marlborough Art Gallery to improve services to the community.
A number of submitters spoke about the condition of community halls in their townships.
“Council will undertake a stocktake of the halls throughout Marlborough to determine the scale and priority of work required as part of a strategic review of these important community assets,” Mayor Taylor said.
A number of submitters’ proposals will be referred to the relevant committee, she said. Proposed cycleway and bike projects will be referred to Bike Walk Marlborough to progress, while many of those who submitted on community projects will be advised to apply to the Community Grants Scheme.
Mayor Taylor thanked submitters for taking the time to provide feedback on Council’s 2023-2024 Annual Plan consultation document.
“It’s important for Councillors to hear from their community and the Annual Plan process provides an opportunity for everyone to be involved and be heard. We value the feedback and new ideas brought to us and every submission is given full consideration during the decision making process,” she said.
The recommendations from today’s meeting will be confirmed, along with the rates for the coming year, at the Council meeting on 29 June, and come into effect from 1 July.