Marlborough councillors choose user pays and rates rise proposal

9:30 am on 4 March 2023
The Marlborough District Council building in Blenheim

The Marlborough District Council building in Blenheim Photo: Supplied/ Marlborough District Council

User pays fees are being increased by Marlborough District Council in an attempt to reduce the impact of rising costs on ratepayers.

Councillors unanimously agreed to the Annual Plan 2023-24 Budget proposal on Thursday.

It includes an overall proposed rates increase of 7.8 percent, for the year beginning 1 July.

The 2023-24 Annual Plan Consultation Document is scheduled to be adopted by the council at its 6 April meeting, with public consultation open from 6 April until 8 May.

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Marlborough District Mayor Nadine Taylor. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Mayor Nadine Taylor said the council had worked hard to address the challenge of inflation and to reduce what would have been a rates increase of more than 10 percent, without cutting public services.

"I'm very aware of the cost of living pressures on households and recognise that 7.8 percent is a relatively high rates increase.

"It's not something that any mayor or councillor wants to propose but our budgets are under significant inflationary and interest cost pressure - and it's the same for every council in the country."

She said a capital expenditure programme would be maintained by the proposed budget, primarily in roads, sewerage and water treatment, with no services cut from the next 10- year period. And there would be continued investment in core services, including roads and footpaths, flood protection, water supply, sewerage and environmental management.

Increasing the fees for resource consents, environmental health and building control was a fairer way to spread costs and would reduce the impact on ratepayers next year by just over $1 million.

Taylor said councils were facing higher than normal levels of inflation and supply chain issues were driving costs up.

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