Roading renewal projects for the next ten years total just over $39 million. Rural roading renewals have been allocated $2.4 million in 2015-16, and inflation adjusted for subsequent years with a total of $26.2 million over the ten years of the plan. Urban renewals have been allocated an average of $800,000 per annum. Based on the work programme that is agreed with NZTA, costs will be covered by 57% NZTA subsidy and the remainder from the Council levying rates on properties in the district.
Minor rural and urban improvement work is scheduled based on a “deficiency database” (a database that records identified problems and risks on roads), starting with $308,000 in 2015-16. This work also attracts a 57% NZTA subsidy and 43% is funded by rates.
We could plan to undertake additional work, however, if it is over and above the agreed NZTA programme this would not be subsidised and would need to be fully funded via rates. We do not believe our ratepayers would support an increase in rates to fund additional work.
We have allocated $300,000 per annum (inflated) for resurfacing of footpaths. This will be funded from depreciation reserves and uses most of the depreciation that is rated for.
Asphaltic concrete (or hotmix) is more expensive than chip seal surfacing but has a better quality finish. We have had complaints about chipseal surfaces and the community has expressed a preference for hotmix, particularly wheelchair and mobility scooter users. We plan to use ‘hotmix’ for 95% of our footpath resurfacing. This will mean a reduction in the amount of resurfacing that we can do each year within budget.
The alternative options are to continue to use chipseal and resurface more of our footpaths each year; or to increase our footpath resurfacing budget to undertake more hotmix resurfacing. We do not believe our ratepayers would support an increase in rates to enable this.
In 2015-16 we installed kerbing and a new footpath on the western side of Colombo Road following requests for increased safety for pedestrians. This cost $174,000 and was be funded by a combination of subsidy, depreciation reserves and loan. The alternative was to leave the western side of Colombo Rd as a grass verge, but this was not desirable for pedestrian safety.
Pedestrian safety improvements were made on Jetty Road at Castlepoint in 2015-16 including a concrete footpath adjacent to the beach frontage at a cost of $60,000. This was funded by general capital reserves. An alternative option, initially requested by Castlepoint ratepayer’s, was a more expensive boardwalk. This option was not supported due to the estimated cost.
We plan to upgrade the street lighting in the Masterton urban area with LED technology at a cost of $726,000 over two years, starting in 2016/17. Although LED installation is more expensive than replacing the current sodium lights, we anticipate annual savings of $35,000 due to the LED lights being cheaper to run and lasting longer, thus achieving a reduction in electricity and maintenance. Alternatively, we could continue using high-pressure sodium lights and fittings that would cost less to renew, but these would not achieve the annual cost savings we anticipate with the LED lights or the increased lighting coverage that the LED lights will provide.
We have made an annual provision of $70,000 in the roading programme (from rates and subsidies) for cycling projects. This could increase if additional government funding is made available. This will meet increased demand for safe cycling and has the potential to attract cycling tourists with subsequent economic benefit.
We have allowed $10,000 per year for roadside planting in response to an earlier submission asking for native plantings on roadsides. This is planned for the rural area. The plantings will create corridors of native plantings for birds and will enhance the attractiveness of our roadsides. The work will be funded from rates. The alternative is to leave the verges as grassed areas that are sometimes grazed or mown by farmers but are otherwise left as long grass with mowing to the safety margin only. In summer this is a potential fire risk.