The Clutha District Council will keep overall rates increases to below 4% for the next three years and allocate $5 million in the budget to upgrading Milton’s main street, it was decided at a recent council meeting.
Mayor Bryan Cadogan believes this low level of increase in core spending will be a great achievement.
“Maintaining our 4% rate cap over the next three years for me is one of council’s proudest moments, and [this plan] would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the structural changes made five years ago to our investment portfolio which this year returned over 21%, and for the organisation’s cohesion and commitment to our district’s ‘Living and Working’ strategy,” he said.
Key decisions were made at the council’s long-term plan decisions hearing, held on May 20.
That followed a month-long consultation process, which attracted more than 200 submissions.
The majority of submitters were in favour of the council’s decision to provide $5 million of funding to the extended Milton Main Street improvements.
Framing Plus owner Chris McDonald said the council should “do it once and do it right’’.
“I think it’s good, on the whole,” he said.
Hammer Hardware owner Robyn Calder said “we like the new toilets, but we want the car parks to stay. I think we all want the street to remain clear, so that people can call in and get a coffee wherever, or look at the shops’’.
Water supply also got a big tick. The council approved a budget of $14.5 million to establish a new supply from the Clutha River and to build a new treatment plant to amalgamate the Balmoral 1, 2, Tuapeka East and West rural water schemes and decommission the Evans Flat and Waitahuna plants.
Among other projects approved were $150,000 for the West Otago Health Trust for building expansions (in addition to a $150,000 loan), $200,000 to support a destination playground in Waihola and $195,000 to help with improvements to the Owaka SwimmingBaths.
Waihola Looking Forward chairman Stu Michelle said he was ‘‘very happy’’.
“We are all quite rapt with it. It will be massive for Waihola as all our playground infrastructure is getting quite worn,” he said.
“With the cycle trail arriving soon, it will enter the foreshore area at the back of the playground, leading people into our new area.”
Owaka swimming pool renovations committee president Linda Wilson said it would complete the projected works and ‘‘allow us to add extra components that were originally outside the initial plans’’.
Work on the project is well under way, with a new roof on the pool complex and electrical systems being upgraded.