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Rural road reserve options revealed

With South Wairarapa District Council’s Rural Road Reserve all “used up”, rural ratepayers are being asked if they want to reach further into their pockets to build it back up again.

Three options have been proposed as part of the council’s Annual Plan Consultation.

Currently, the council puts $300k into the Rural Road Reserve every year from rates collected from rural ratepayers.

The reserve is used for unexpected and urgent repairs to the rural road network, often due to damage caused by severe weather events.

“We have experienced seven major weather events in the previous 12 months that have caused $7 million of damage to our roading network,” the consultation document states.

“The Rural Road Reserve is now used up.”

The first option for consultation is to maintain the current annual rural roading reserve contribution level of $300k.

At this level, it may take a few years to build up the reserve and would not meet any urgent costs that exceed this amount.

“The more money we can set aside, the more prepared we will be to respond to emergency events, particularly on our vulnerable coastal roads,” the consultation document states.

Option 2 is to increase the annual rural roading contribution to $500k.

This would result in a greater level of response to address unexpected and urgent repairs to rural roads in the district.

It would result in an average additional rates rise of $1.33 per week for rural ratepayers –$69.16 per year.

Option 3 is to increase the annual contribution to $1m.

This would result in the rural roading reserve being replenished and would give greater ability to service the roading needs of rural communities, allowing more work to be done.

The weekly impact of this is an additional $4.66 on average per rural ratepayer – $242.32 per year.

Public consultation on the council’s Annual Plan closes on May 27 and public hearings are scheduled for June 8 and 9.

Council will deliberate on the submissions on June 14 and the Annual Plan is set to be adopted on June 28. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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