The South Taranaki District Council released its Annual Plan today (7 May) which, amongst other measures, proposes 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 proposes 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.
“Following the Council’s Long Term Plan, rates were projected to increase by around 3.36%. However, given the financial burden COVID-19 will place on many families and businesses we are proposing to have a zero % rate rise. In addition, the Council is proposing 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 realise this proposal. 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.
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)
Mayor Nixon says while the Council is not formally consulting on the Annual Plan the public can make comment and give feedback on the Plan until 5pm on Thursday 21 May.
For more information visit the council’s website www.southtaranaki.com