Coun­cil needs to re­think rate rise

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

A mem­ber of Ru­ral Women New Zealand says the Mata­mata- Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil should re­con­sider push­ing for projects that will raise rates, as dairy farm­ers can’t af­ford it this year with the pay­out drop.

The com­ments come af­ter MPDC mayor Jan Barnes met with mem­bers of Fed­er­ated Farm­ers and Ru­ral Women from Mata­mata and Mor­rinsville to dis­cuss the coun­cil’s draft Long Term Plan on April 13.

The town’s pro­posed event cen­tre and cy­cle trail will put a big bur­den on farm­ing fam­i­lies in the Mata­mata area, a mem­ber of the Pi­ako, Waikato East pro­vin­cial branch of Ru­ral Women’s New Zealand, Mar­garet Os­borne, said. ‘‘The coun­cil are not tak­ing into ac­count the huge drop in the pay­ment that dairy farm­ers have had this year,’’ she said.

Although she does sup­port the cy­cle trail, she said the coun­cil should re­think try­ing to raise rates to pay for it this year.

She also thinks the rat­ing sys­tem, based on cap­i­tal value, is ‘‘ ar­chaic’’ and un­fair. Bas­ing rates on land val­ues means that farm­ers, whose land area is ob­vi­ously much big­ger than an ur­ban home­owner’s land area, bear the brunt of higher rates. Os­borne said her rates would go up two per cent if the coun­cil’s pro­pos­als go through.

She was happy the mayor came along to dis­cuss the draft LTP with farm­ers.

Stew Wadey, chair­man of the Mata­mata Dis­trict Fed­er­ated Farm­ers, said the or­gan­i­sa­tion didn’t have any ma­jor con­cerns with the coun­cil’s draft Long Term Plan. The group has ‘‘skilled pol­icy peo­ple that scru­ti­nise the plan in depth in­clud­ing the fi­nan­cials’’ which will help the group pro­duce a sub­mis­sion of the draft LTP, which will then be pre­sented at the coun­cil hear­ing.

Wadey felt the topic of a new me­mo­rial civic cen­tre for Mata­mata might be what the coun­cil was mainly fo­cused on this year. ‘‘With­out a doubt, the cur­rent me­mo­rial hall is a very tired build­ing.’’ He said if the coun­cil has been fully fund­ing de­pre­ci­a­tion, there should be a very rea­son­able amount to make the cost short fall very rea­son­able for ratepay­ers to sup­port over an an­tic­i­pated 50 year life of a new mul­ti­func­tional me­mo­rial cen­tre.

He said the coun­cil meets with his group reg­u­larly to dis­cuss the an­nual plan and long term plans, along with any reg­u­la­tory plan changes or vari­a­tion of ex­ist­ing dis­trict plan pro­pos­als. ‘‘ Fed­er­ated Farm­ers do mon­i­tor and some­times get in­volved in con­sent pro­cesses that are linked to the Re­source Man­age­ment Act on be­half of its mem­bers,’’ he said.

He said the mayor meets with many in­ter­est groups, such as Grey Power, to dis­cuss and in­form them on coun­cil plans.

Jan Barnes said the meet­ing was very pro­duc­tive. ‘‘ There was a lot of dis­cus­sion on the ma­jor pro­pos­als within this doc­u­ment, in par­tic­u­lar on the pro­posed Civic Cen­tre in Mata­mata and on the walk­ing and cy­cling links pro­posed,’’ she said.

‘‘Projects like th­ese that im­pact gen­eral rates have the big­gest im­pact on ru­ral prop­erty own­ers. So it was re­ally valu­able to meet with those rep­re­sen­ta­tives and dis­cuss what the projects would mean for them.’’

Mata­mata Pi­ako mayor Jan Barnes

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