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SWDC set to deliberate annual plan

South Wairarapa elected members meet today to deliberate on the council’s enhanced annual plan.

Last week, councillors heard from more than a dozen submitters after receiving 131 written submissions to the plan.

Consultation topics in the plan included how much South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] should spend on operating and maintaining water services; how council should charge for water use; and how to fund the replacement of assets.

During submissions, residents raised concerns about the impact of water allocation on schools, marae, and not-for-profits; the economic development targeted rate; and the implementation of a separately used or inhabited part [SUIP] rating unit.

SWDC moved to introduce a SUIP rating unit after its rating review last year, as did Carterton District Council.

Applying the SUIP rate would result in thousands of dollars in rates increases for properties with multiple dwellings. This is because the wastewater charge, water supply charge, and the roading uniform annual charge would be multiplied by the number of SUIP rating units.

SWDC chief executive Janice Smith said she would follow up on the key topics raised by submitters and report back at deliberations.

At last week’s hearings, councillors heard a submission from the Martinborough Community Board that asked for urgency in dealing with non-compliance issues at the town’s wastewater treatment plant.

“The failure of this infrastructure has had major impacts on our community, and it restricts growth,” community board member Mel Maynard said.

SWDC was also asked to make a formal lease agreement with the community board for the Pain Farm and transfer station before council moves forward with any plans to use Pain Farm for wastewater.

Martinborough resident and former mayoral candidate Daphne Geisler spoke to her submission and shared concerns about the SUIP rating unit and how it would be applied to properties.

“Along with the change to capital value, this was a pretty radical change to our rating system,” she said.

She explained that she had seen anomalies on the Quotable Value website regarding how many dwellings were on certain properties in South Wairarapa and was concerned the SUIP rate would be applied inconsistently and that the impact had not been communicated well.

South Wairarapa landowner Dan Riddiford also made a submission expressing his concern with the share of rates paid by hill country farmers who are facing “inescapable” cash losses.

“The point I wish to make very loudly is that you cannot expect people to be simply rated out of existence.”

When Riddiford reached the end of his 10-minute timeframe to present, he kept speaking and so the meeting was adjourned.

-NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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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