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Council plan covers major issues, much to submit on

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The GDC rates barometer is now set, with Gisborne District Council releasing its draft Long-Term Plan consultation document.

Forget about holding rates at 2 percent rises, the proposed new average rate rise is 5 percent (6.9 percent average for city residents and 8 percent for commercial).

The council says its overall plan is for Tairawhiti to thrive, not just survive. However, the need to spend more on critical infrastructure, combined with bigger rate rises and the proposal to almost double debt levels, and we are entering a very important consultation phase.

The chamber will make submissions to the council regarding the plan. If you wish to discuss any business-related concerns with the chamber, please contact me or a chamber executive member.

I expect there will be particular concern in the local forestry industry, which faces a 29 percent rating increase due to a roading rate change. The response from the collective forestry sector will be interesting.

Further within the booklet, the council states that the most efficient way to pay for district-wide infrastructure is to borrow money, then spread the cost of this borrowing over many years (paying it back through rates).

At this time the chamber encourages all to take up the opportunity to meet with council representatives via their community consultation process, discuss your concerns and, importantly, get your submissions in.

Terry Sheldrake, Gisborne Chamber of Commerce chief executive

Posted: Saturday 17 March 2018