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Annual Plan submissions hearing on Wednesday

Support for community facilities but not for additional rural rates rises were key themes in submissions to the Wairoa District Council 2022/23 Annual Plan.

A total of 106 submissions were lodged, with hearings scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, from 9am in the Council chambers.

Submissions indicated a community desire to enable the Community Centre and Museum to continue to deliver current levels of service to the community. However, some submitters indicated the additional funding could be more appropriate as a one off rather than ongoing, and that these entities could be seeking funds from other avenues.

Submitters acknowledged an active community and protecting our taonga are important to the wellbeing of the community with both facilities adding value. However, this was balanced with a requirement for increased accountability for management of the two community organisations and external funding being sought to maintain levels of service in the future.

Around 40 submissions were from the rural sector in response to the rating differential. These submitters requested Council adjust the forestry differential upwards, specifically doubling it, so forestry property owners would continue to pay the 27% (in dollar terms) of the rate-take, as they would have done before the effect of last year’s new valuations. 

They also urged Council to alleviate the rates burden on rural properties by introducing graduated differentials beginning at 0.7 for low value rural properties and reducing to 0.5 for higher value rural properties.

The rural sector submissions stated the increase of funding for the Community Centre and Museum would be more palatable if the rateable value hadn’t doubled in the 2021 valuation round. They also referenced rural mental health, the strain the rural sector is facing through central government pressure and the negative impacts on community wellbeing from the forestry sector.

Mayor Craig Little thanked all those people who took the time to make submissions. “We appreciate the opportunity to hear the views from the community.”

Elected members will gather more information from submitters who have indicated they would like to speak to their submissions at the hearings on Wednesday June 15, and deliberations will follow.

19 August 2022

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