• Patrick McBride

2.7% RATE RISE on the table for Grey District

- Fees and Charges set to change

The Grey District Council will have one last meeting via Zoom tonight to look at the adoption of 2020/2021 Annual Plan and Fees and Charges set out for the area.

The motion sets out a rates increase of 2.7% which is just above current inflation of 2.5% but down from the forecasted 3.66% increase prediction from the 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. GDC state they will be continuing with projects, priorities and direction as set out in the LTP.

The report said that 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 and reboot the 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.

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.

If passed by Council tonight, rate payers will also see the following changes to Fees and Chargers in the district:

· 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 Council 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 Council 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 Council policy.

· No change to Port fees.

· Increases of around 2-3% (in line with inflation) to most other fees and charges for 2020/2021.