Council needs to rethink rate rise
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