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Infrastructure upgrades behind rating review
By SANDRA CROSBIE and ZARYD
Today the Rangitikei District Coun-
cil will hear submissions from the
public on its long term plan.
The change to the district-wide
charging of rates is considered by
Mayor Chalky Leary as the biggest
thing from the plan.
It is likely to be the most contro-
While some areas in the district
will experience a dramatic increase
in rates, and others a decrease, both
Mr Leary and RDC chief executive
Clare Hadley said the change had
only been introduced with the inten-
tion of being fair to all ratepayers.
The aim was to have one big pool
of money to spend on the whole dis-
trict, which Mr Leary said would
save money in the long run.
At the moment we ve got all
these little jam jars full of money,
Mr Leary said.
I think the people generally
accept that we are doing the best we
Under the new system all areas of
the district will be rated similarly
but overall rates are set to rise.
The council is faced with some
significant capital expenditure
especially with regard to upgrading
wastewater treatment systems to
meet new and more stringent con-
We have to do it. . . you don t
have any choice, Ms Hadley said.
All towns in the Rangitikei need
For some towns it has been 60 to
70 years since major infrastructure
has been invested in.
Bulls and Ratana need
wastewater upgrades and Taihape s
Pumping Station is non-compliant.
Standards have changed, Leary
What was OK 25 years ago is not
acceptable now. By paying rates,
ratepayers can enjoy the
Mr Leary said work that needed
doing could not be paid for with the
current rates revenue.
It s like trying to build a new roof
on your house with the normal
The council is also looking to
extend its debt to $29 million over
the next 10 years to help pay for
Firefighters needed urgently
By ZARYD WILSON
Burnt out: House fires like this one at Duddings Lake run the risk of slow attendance because of the current lack of volunteer fire fighters.
Photo: ZARYD WILSON
Volunteer fire brigades in the
Rangitikei have not escaped the
critical staffing shortages the rest of
the country is facing.
The Bulls and Marton brigades
are running on about half the num-
ber of staff they require and fire
chiefs say there is a risk that they
will not be able to respond to calls.
It s a fact, that when we can t get
a truck out quickly, that more loss
can be expected, as a fire can gain
momentum quickly, Bulls Chief
Fire Officer Brian Carter said.
He said it could mean the differ-
ence between a house burning to the
ground or not, as the nearest career
firefighters are in Whanganui or
The Bulls station is running on
the bare minimum and sometimes
struggles to deliver a full service.
There are times when I ve been
asked to send two trucks when I can
only send one, he said.
Mr Carter said when the Marton
brigade were called to a fire at
Duddings Lake recently his brigade
was asked to cover Marton but they
had to decline because of a lack of
He said he currently has 15
volunteers but needs about 30.
MartonChief Fire Officer Paul
Hudson said his station was in a
We ve lost 16 [staff] in the last
two years, he said.
The risk is that we are not going
to be able to get the trucks out.
Mr Hudson said all the Rangitikei
stations were about to begin an
advertising campaign which usually
attracted new members.
It normally does but it s holding
on to them that is the big thing, he
Hunterville s got a full quota at
this stage but things can change
He said it was symptomatic of the
times and all sort of clubs and vol-
unteer organisations are having the
It is because people just don t
want to commit themselves to
things these days, he said.
While Mr Hudson hopes to attract
more volunteers soon it is likely to
be an ongoing issue.
I don t think it s going to get any
better. There s so many things for
people to do now, he said.
They have to want to do the job.
It s no good dragging them by the
ear. It s very involved and you ve got
to be committed.
Anyone interested in becoming a
volunteer should contact their near-
Come in and see us and we ll give
you some papers and talk you
through any concerns, Bulls Senior
Station Officer John Bowen said.
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