Mayor's column April 2017

(Posted on: April 18)

Every year Council prepares an annual budget, known as the Annual Plan. This year’s budget contains an outline of the Council’s plans for 2017-18 and explains the proposed changes Council is considering making from our Long Term Plan 2015-2025 (LTP).

The annual budget has an impact on your rates, and Council this year is proposing an overall rates increase of 3.6%. It was predicted to be 4.5% in the LTP. This figure is a pre-consultation estimate of the amount of rates we need from the whole District to provide the range of services and work programmed for this coming year. After consultation this average may change.

Remember that this is the average rate with some ratepayers paying more and some paying less than the average. The level of change in your new Rating Values will also impact on the amount of your rates. If for example, your Rating Value went up more than the average Rating Value increase in the District; your rate increase will be larger than the average, and vice versa.

Council relies on hearing from our community as to what projects and services to include and what to leave out. Rates pay for services that we all receive and good quality services cost money. The more services Council provides, the higher the rates. However we also need to consider whether we should be investing in additional infrastructural services now to create more wealth. This investment results in the ability to attract more residents and more businesses to our District, which in turn, means more people to share the rate burden.

There are ongoing changes to our cost structure: some of which are as a result of decisions at central Government level. Other projects have been investigated, and some need rescheduling. The budget process has seen a mix of decreases and increases in project costs.

Striking the right balance between investing in better quality services and projects, and keeping rates affordable is Council’s job. The Mayor and Councillors are your community representatives who also pay rates. We want to represent you in a democratic way and want our decisions to represent the majority view in our community.

If you would like to see Council decrease some services to save money, please tell us which services you suggest and conversely if you would like to see increased services please let us know, but bear in mind that with any increase in services provided, there is likely to be an upward effect in rates.

In addition, Council is seeking your feedback on the proposed Waste Minimisation Plan, which outlines how Council intends to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. Also Council is required to consult on some of the fees and charges that customers pay for services. We need your feedback on the District Planning Fees and Food Act Fees.

Watch for your Annual Plan Summary document in your local paper, fill in the submission form to have your say or visit our website We need to hear from you by 4pm, Friday 28 April 2017.

Helen Worboys