Council adopted the Annual Plan and Fees and Charges for the 2020/ 2021 year on 28 May 2020. The 2020/2021 Annual Plan is based on year three of the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan (LTP). In the past, Council has always carried out public consultation on a Draft Annual Plan before adopting a Final Annual Plan. However, local authorities need to consult with the public during the Annual Plan process only if the Annual Plan includes significant or material differences from the content of the relevant financial year in the LTP (see clause 2A, section 95A of the Local Government Act 2002).
On this occasion we consider there were no significant or material differences from year three of our 2018-2028 LTP and Council will be continuing with the projects, priorities, and direction as set in the LTP.
Below is a summary of items to note from the adopted Annual Plan:
The forecast rates increase for year three of the LTP was 3.66%. The rates rise in the 2020/2021 Annual Plan is 2.7% (just above current inflation of 2.5%). This increase will affect each property differently but for example, a property that pays $3,000 per annum in rates will have an increase of approximately $1.56 per week.
Given the current economic climate, Council worked hard to get the rate increase as low as prudently possible to continue to provide existing levels of service and support the reboot of our local economy, whilst reducing the current and future burden on the ratepayer during these tough times.
The lower than expected rate increase has been achieved by ensuring only essential projects will be undertaken, finding efficiencies to reduce expenses and authorisation of spending outside of this only where there is no other option. As well as this, additional money has been borrowed for roading projects and the economic development rate has been reduced for 2020/2021, putting money back into the pocket of local businesses.
Fees and charges
Council has reviewed the fees and charges for the 2020/2021 year. Points to note are as follows:
- Westland Recreation Centre fees will increase by around 3%. It is noted this is the first increase for the pool in ten years and the first increase for the gym and stadium in three years.
- Solid waste fees (i.e. McLeans Landfill and Resource Centres) will increase by 10% due to increased costs to Council to meet our obligations under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
- Noise control fees, i.e. callouts and seizure of equipment, will increase to recover the cost associated with this activity from the exacerbators.
- Increases to building consent fees to ensure that we have the correct balance of user pays versus ratepayer input, i.e. users are covering more of the costs (as per our Revenue and Financing Policy).
- Rentals for new tenants in our retirement housing units from 1 July 2020 will be approximately 25% of gross NZ Superannuation. Existing tenants will have a $5 per week increase in their weekly rent (from 7 September 2020) for the next two years to bring them into alignment with the new rates, following which annual increases will be as per our policy.
- No change to Port fees.
- Increases of around 2-3% (in line with inflation) to most other fees and charges for 2020/2021.
Contestable Grants Fund
It is accepted that many members of the community and community groups use the Annual Plan consultation process as a time to suggest projects or request funding. In this regard, a $20,000 Contestable Grants Fund has been included in the 2020/2021 Annual Plan for the community to apply to. Applications will open mid-August and close the end of September. Council will decide on applications made in October.
To read the full adopted Annual Plan report and Fees and Charges for 2020/2021 please click here.