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Invercargill rates increase falls short of Southland Museum and Art Gallery target

Source: stuff.co.nz 

Invers-rates-increaseInvercargill ratepayers can expect an average rate rise of 2.3 per cent, or $42.95, for 2016/17.

The final decision was derived from 100 submissions on the Invercargill City Council annual plan. 

Ratepayers will benefit with the introduction of a council-employed CBD developer, increased patrolling at Oreti Beach and the move of the Anderson Park Art collection to the town centre.

At an extraordinary council meeting, held on Tuesday, councillor Lloyd Esler said the Southland Museum and Art Gallery would struggle because they would be receiving less funding than required. 

Council agreed the Southland Regional Heritage rate would sit at $5 per ratepayer, in line with Southland District Council.

Esler said the rate fell short of the $15.09 increase required by the gallery.

"It is a disappointment that the museum is still going to be struggling for adequate funding as a result of taking that [the higher rate] out." 

The Anderson Park Art Gallery Trust grant would be increased by $120,000 to fund a move to the CBD, and pay for staff relating to the move. 

The move would allow the public to enjoy the collection and offer another CBD attraction, the annual plan report says. 

Council would put the $120,000 into a reserve fund until further work was made on the collection's final location.

In the consultation document, the Gallery Trust requested a grant increase to $385,000 per year. 

Council would also adopt a targeted rate to the CBD, to pay for the employment of a City Centre coordinator.

Councillor Ian Pottinger said the report should be amended to acknowledge action would be taken on the cycle and walkway between Invercargill and Bluff. 

In his council submission, Bluff Community Board chairman Ray Fife suggested the Invercargill to Bluff cycle and walkway should be urgent business.

Pottinger said the council's annual plan should affirm the cycle and walkway as a priority.

More tourism meant more visitors walked to Bluff on the open road, Pottinger said. 

"[We need to] respond in a way that shows that we've accepted the submission, we recognise that it is extremely important, and we do our utmost to talk to the people involved." 

Councillors voted in favour of rewording the report, to say council was aware of significant risks to walkers and cyclists. 

Rates revenue from 2016/17 was expected to be $48,166,000.

Mayor Tim Shadbolt's report says council carefully assessed each of its activities to determine how they could be achieved in the most cost-effective way. 

Councillor Neil Boniface said the rate increase was "a good result" and reflected what the community asked for. 

Councillor Karen Arnold said she wanted to thank and congratulate those who collated the final report and feedback.