The 2020/21 Draft Annual Plan and average rates increase will be considered at next Tuesday’s full Council meeting (16/06/20).
The Annual Plan sets out Council’s plans, budget, and goals for the next year.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said the average rates figure is based on what Council needs to achieve the intentions set out in the Draft Annual Plan.
“A couple of weeks ago we presented the budget for the draft Annual Plan to the Finance, Audit and Risk committee.
“This year’s rates are expected to rise around an average of 5%.
“For the second year in a row Council has a deficit of around $2 million between what it costs to run the district and the income Council receives.
“This deficit is not being passed onto ratepayers and, again for the second year in a row, Council is not charging rates on areas like, wear and tear on council assets or potential costs of emergencies — a saving of $2.5m.
“We have been adamant we did not want any average rates increase to be above 5%, and if we didn’t follow this path the deficit would be passed to ratepayers at an average of $300 per property.
“Not rating on these types of charges is not a sustainable long-term solution and if we continue down this track it would become a burden on our future ratepayers.
“Council’s costs are just like any household, bills go up. Every year it is costing us more to operate our district, and like all other costs, electricity, insurance etc, rates need to go up.
“We can have zero rates increase, but that would mean a huge reduction in the level and range of services we currently offer.
“Running the tap, flushing the toilet, our roading network, rubbish collection, footpaths and reserves, along with a whole lot of other services would all be compromised.
“There will be peaks and troughs within that average increase and as with every year, there will be some significant increases and some decreases.
“The rates variation, caused by differentials, is one of the reasons that we will be commencing a rate review as soon as the 20/21 Annual Plan has been adopted.
“We are planning to reset our rating system and start again, rather than continue with the patch up job that has been going on for decades.
“Our aim is to have the most equitable rating system possible and bring it in line with rating systems throughout the country, but it will mean changes.
“We will also ensure the community is informed throughout the review and as well as setting up a stakeholder groups of local people we look forward to hearing people’s mindful thoughts, suggestions and solutions.
“During my time on Council we have twice tried to change the rating system, as recently as 2017/18, and our efforts have been rejected.
“I look forward to working with the community to investigate all the options available within our legislative restrictions to find the best solutions to fit our district.”
The agenda for next Tuesday’s Council meeting will be on our website this week.
9 June 2020
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