News: Rates decision from South Wairarapa District Council

17 November 2021

South Wairarapa District Council Mayor, Alex Beijen, confirmed that at today’s Council meeting, South Wairarapa District Councillors discussed the challenges it faces setting a long term investment priority for Council against the equally challenging task of meeting the high expectations of our community to deliver essential investment in our infrastructure. This was contrasted with our ratepayers’ ability to pay for the necessary investment this requires.

This discussion was consistent with the overwhelming message from our community from the recent rates meetings and, at the Council meeting today, Council recognised there was no reasonable option to reset rates in this financial year. It was, however, necessary to provide added scrutiny to ensure planned decision-making over Council budgets was closely monitored so only essential expenditure is approved.

Council agreed that its intention would be to look at the Long Term Plan to make sure that expenditure and the affordability for ratepayers is revisited as part of the review of Council budgets in the new year. Review of the Long Term Plan could be undertaken as a full review or a variation, and it would leverage off the Annual Plan process which includes significant changes Council would like community feedback on. This process will commence in February, leading to a Council decision by 30 June 2022.

Council also recognised the need to prioritise a rating review to ensure equity in the distribution of rates. This would also explore future rating options for revenue from those who benefit from Council infrastructure, but who do not presently pay for its services, such as visitors to the region.

Mayor Beijen added, ‘These decisions may not be what everyone was hoping for as the costs savings will be delayed to the following year. However, the Council considers today’s decision to be the most prudent option as it allows its level of service to be maintained, and sets a definite action plan to review costs in early 2022.

“It’s especially important to our district in light of our ageing infrastructure and ongoing need for maintenance and upgrades in key areas of drinking water, stormwater, wastewater, roads, lighting, parks and other amenities.

‘The Councillors and staff would like to take the opportunity to thank the public for taking the time to submit questions and attend public meetings. It has been a long journey for all involved, ratepayers, elected officials and staff alike.’

The Council is working through the feedback and questions and will respond through published responses on its website’s rates page.

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support