17 Dec 2014

Council flip-flops on rates cap

4:21 pm on 17 December 2014

New Plymouth councillors have backed away from a proposal to close swimming pools and libraries in a effort to cap average rate rises at 3 percent over 10 years.

New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd.

New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The council has been trying to save $40 million but councillors could not face going through with 16 of 23 options identified for cost-cutting or higher user charges.

The mayor, Andrew Judd, said he was delighted with the decision to dump some of the more contentious proposals.

"I just think in general a lot of those were quite backwards-thinking in their approach to our district and to what we've achieved - and, no one particular one, but as a collective it really sent a wrong message and clearly I've heard that from the community throughout the last few weeks.

"So I'm really pleased that they've - that it's not going to be happening."

About 20 groups and individuals had made submissions against the council's proposals at a marathon sitting.

The Len Lye Centre has avoided an entry charge when it opens next year and Venture Taranaki has kept its council funding.

However, tenants of the council's pensioner flats face rent rises and roading and water budgets will be looked at.

The councillors have voted to cap average rate increases at 3.5 to 3.9 percent - a move that will go out for consultation in the 2015-25 long-term plan in March.

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