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    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High up above and deep down under

    Default Gore rural ratepayers benefit from changes

    Gore rural ratepayers benefit from changes
    24 January 2006

    GORE – Rural ratepayers in the Gore district would enjoy an average rates decrease of 5.35 percent while their urban counterparts cop a 4.74 percent increase under the Gore District Council's present funding formula.

    Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks yesterday released the figures for 2006-2007 after a closed workshop last Friday to discuss possible changes to the way the council funds its various activities.

    The council last week adopted the draft estimates for the next financial year, delivering a district-wide average rate increase of 2.04 percent.

    The drop in rural rates was mainly because of the removal of the council's rural unsubsidised seal extension programme, worth $230,000.

    Leaving the programme in the estimates would have given rural ratepayers an average 5 percent rate increase.

    Mr Hicks yesterday denied the council removed the seal extension work to pave the way for a greater share of costs of other activities going to rural ratepayers.

    Rural councillor Sally McIntyre last week expressed fears that changes to the funding formula would see rural ratepayers contributing more to the urban parks and reserves.

    Mr Hicks said the workshop reviewed a number of areas where changes could be made.

    Sports fields appeared to be the only one where funds could be moved about, he said.

    A spreadsheet presented to the workshop shows that $57,651 from the uniform annual charge, which was paid by all ratepayers, goes to sports fields.

    Chief financial officer Doug Walker said yesterday this was a historical figure and it was unclear how it had been arrived at.

    It was not the full cost of the activity but that was also unclear as sports fields were lumped in with parks and reserves.

    Expenditure over $57,651 was funded by urban ratepayers while rural ratepayers paid $110,913 for their sports fields, Mr Walker said.

    Mr Hicks denied the funding formula review was a smoothing exercise, a term used by chief executive Steve Parry in a memo late last year.

    "If people see it that way, they are wrong. We should look at funding separately (to rates)," Mr Hicks said.

    A second workshop will be held on February 7.

    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx


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