Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Assessments afford insights

Impact Assessments have been received from more than 200 properties impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, which has allowed us a greater insight into the level and cost to individuals and farmers in the Tararua District.

Our roading network still has seven roads closed, with 88 high complexity repairs and 2243 faults, which lie between medium and low complexity to repair. Many rural residents are hugely impacted by these roading network faults causing additional cost and stress.

The temporary access works underway for the Marainanga Gorge may not open the road for the public but will provide a lifeline in the daily lives of those who live there. We await additional information on Otanga Road, which sits on a fault line which looks active, while working on potential solutions for its residents. To add to the roading burden, we have 14 structural faults on impacted bridges and another six with railing faults. We have 21 crews out on our roading network ensuring it is stable as we head into winter.

Take care when driving, taking care with speed, and remain alert. The 489 dropouts are monitored for changes weekly and the most severe, daily, for safety. The estimated repair cost to the network will be around $100 million and council has signalled its inability to meet the emergency works funding shortfall to Waka Kotahi and the Government. We will be doing everything we can to have this fully funded.

The Rural Support Trust are doing an incredible job out in the community, meeting with farmers, rural professionals, providing support and leading our rural recovery. Enhanced Taskforce Green has been established to assist with farm clean up, funded by the Ministry of Social Development. This team will be focusing on rebuilding fencing on affected farms. There have been more than 40 requests for assistance with clean up and fencing, and 39 working bees have already been carried out by volunteers, which is greatly appreciated by those facing these challenges. It truly helps lighten the burden, so please get in touch with council if you are keen to help in any way. Forty-four farms have received emergency materials through the Federated Farmers/Farmlands/Stuff Post Your Support campaign, which was launched at the Central Districts Field days in March.

Council received 136 submissions to our Annual Plan and the proposed average rate increase of 13.18 per cent, and we spent more than five hours robustly discussing these during our Finance and Performance Committee meeting.

One of the continual challenges for the Tararua District is providing services for seven towns. This came to the fore in discussions as we face increased costs for our waste disposal. Rubbish is expensive and even more so when operating four sites along with transportation costs. The total cost of operating transfer stations across the district has been budgeted at $566,000 for the 2023-24 year. Carbon credits are estimated at $439,000 which also includes our liability for closed landfills within the district. The waste minimisation levy is $50 per tonne. Our tonnage estimated for the 23-24 year based on history is 5065 tonnes. While we were aiming to move to a more user pays model for waste, it was determined that the balance of costs not offset by fees and charges would continue to be funded through general rates and the error in revenue estimation would be covered by cutting depreciation funding further. Waste minimisation will play a huge part for us all moving forward in reducing both council and our personal waste costs.

Affordability was a common theme throughout our submissions, and we are very aware of the challenges everyday rising costs are placing on us all. We estimate that 10 per cent of ratepayers will apply for the rates rebate, which is available to those on a fixed income of $30,100 or less. This includes interest received from savings, but not the investment itself. The deadline for applications is Friday, June 30.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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