Council Adopts Zero Rate Increase for 2020-2021 Annual Plan
The South Taranaki District Council adopted its Annual Plan at Monday night’s meeting which, amongst other measures, includes a zero rate increase for the 2020 – 2021 financial year.
South Taranaki Mayor, Phil Nixon says in light of the COVID-19 pandemic the Council’s focus for the next year will be on ways it can support the community through the recovery and undertake activities to stimulate economic growth using, where possible, local businesses and contractors.
“This Annual Plan includes a range of measures aimed at bringing relief to residents and businesses, some of which can be actioned immediately while others are more long term and will require additional planning before being implemented,” says Mayor Nixon.
“Under the Council’s 2018-28 Long Term Plan, rates were projected to increase by about 3.36%. However, given the financial burden COVID-19 will place on many families and businesses Council has agreed to have a zero % rate rise. In addition, the Council is puting a freeze on fees and charges and is offering payment plans and remission of rate penalties for those experiencing financial hardship,” he says.
Mayor Nixon says the Council is able to achieve the zero rates rise due to the prudent and effective financial management of the organisation by staff and elected members over many years.
“This council is in a sound financial position and we are able to take an additional one-off ($722,500) contribution from our Long Term Investment Fund to achieve this result. There will be no changes in levels of service, and we will continue to meet our current and future infrastructure needs without compromising future plans or our overall financial position,” he says.
“It is disappointing that we haven’t been able to support some worthy community funding requests at this time, but to be able to follow through on our zero% rate increase it just wasn’t possible.”
“We will continue to focus on revitalizing the Hāwera Central Business District, (primarily through the development of Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga – the new library culture and arts centre), developing town centre strategies for Eltham, Manaia, Ōpunakē, Pātea and Waverley, and making further improvements to our roading, stormwater, water and wastewater infrastructure including new Reservoir for Waimate-West water supply.”
Mayor Nixon says these are just the first of several initiatives the Council will consider over the coming year. “We will look to work closely with businesses, Iwi and other partners to develop further measures that will support the ongoing welfare of our district.”
Key Relief Measures the Council is proposing include:
- Zero % rate increase
- Nil increase to Fees and Charges
- Payment Plans and Rate Penalty Remissions for those experiencing financial hardship
Ongoing Economic Recovery Measures - We will look at how we can support longer term economic recovery by:
- Seeking Government financial assistance for and undertaking six significant ‘shovel ready’ projects. These are: Nukumaru Station Road, Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga, Waimate West water mains replacement, desludging the Hāwera WWTP Anaerobic Lagoon, Hāwera Business Park infrastructure and Waimate West Reservoir
- Proceeding with projects such as the Manaia Community Facility and Swimming Pool upgrade, district pathways programme
- Bringing some of our capital projects and other development initiatives forward in our 2021- 2031 Long Term Plan (such as the Hāwera Business Park and associated infrastructure work and the Eltham, Manaia, Ōpunakē, Pātea and Waverley Town Centre upgrades)