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Message from the Mayor

Mayor Margaret KouvelisThree years ago we, as a community, developed a vision for our District – to create the best rural lifestyle in New Zealand, connected, vibrant and thriving Manawatu.

We are fortunate that our District continues to attract new residents and businesses, and I believe that by working towards our vision we will help ensure that growth continues while maintaining what is important.

In many ways, our budget is business as usual, and it will enable Council to work towards achieving our common goal. Our plan is to:

  • upgrade community services and facilities
  • improve service and communication with residents
  • upgrade infrastructure to ensure its provision for generations to come
  • continue to attract and retain business and plan for development
  • meet our external commitments to the Manawatu River Accord and regional development strategies.

To do this we need to increase total rates by approximately 5% in 2015/16. The majority of this increase (4.2%) covers costs from external factors and previous Council decisions. The remaining 0.8% is required for proposed new and improved services, decisions we will make as part of this plan. Over the next ten years total rates will increase by an average of 3.7% per annum.

As a council, we continually question whether or not what we are doing meets our reason for existing as outlined in the Local Government Act. The Act says “to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses”.

We would value your feedback on three key issues. Namely, the proposed single economic development agency; the creation of a targeted rate for ultra-fast broadband rollout to the industrial area and the proposed reduction in funds for Community Development Funds. We’ve identified these separately on the submission form. While we want to hear your opinions on everything, it is important that we get feedback from as many people as possible on these three items in particular.

In the next few years, we will be carrying out many projects on which we have already consulted or made decisions about previously. These include a new or refurbished Mangaweka Bridge over the Rangitikei River; continued investment in Feilding’s wastewater treatment plant; an improved Makino Aquatic Centre; and, a cycleway from Feilding to Palmerston North.

The proposed draft Long Term Plan takes into account ongoing levels of service, fiscal prudence and affordability that will help us create the best rural lifestyle in New Zealand, a connected, vibrant and thriving Manawatu.

Thank you for taking time to read and consider our plan. I encourage you to play your part in deciding the future of our District.

If you need help filling in your submission or you want to discuss our plan one-on-one then please contact me or any councillor.

Mayor Margaret
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We welcome your feedback on our plan