South Wairarapa District Council adopts 2023/24 Annual Plan

South Wairarapa district Councillors were swift in adopting the 2023/24 Annual Plan at today’s Council meeting with 6 Councillors in favour and 3 voting against. The published version of the Annual Plan will be available in late July. A ‘final draft’ version can be accessed through the agenda for today’s meeting.

The Annual Plan was adopted following a month-long formal consultation process during late April and May that resulted in 180 responses. The Council wishes to sincerely thank everyone that took the time to make a formal submission, call or email their feedback, or attend any of the drop-in sessions Council hosted in the district.

The new budget is a 19.8% increase on the 2022/23 budget, or a total rates income of $25.45million.
Some of the significant decisions are:

  • An increase to the water budget to help bring the water system to a compliant, safe and healthy level. Projects include the Martinborough, Greytown and Featherston Wastewater Treatment Plants. The new budget is $4.92million, an increase of $1.3million
  • A further increase of $1m for the water budget of which $500,000 is from rates income. This is the budget to tackle the Martinborough wastewater treatment plant abatement notice related issues and bring it back to compliance level so as to continue to support future growth.
  • Maintain the Rural Roading Reserve budget of $300,000 per annum.
  • Not fund a casual pool of library staff to provide backfill as needed so that libraries may remain open six days a week. This has saved $165,000, however, libraries will be closed at least one day a week.
  • Reduce the funding for community grants by $50,000 to $120,000.
  • Cease funding footpath extensions and retain footpath maintenance as planned.

Total urban targeted rates increased by 21.3% while total rural targeted rates are a 20.9% increase.
The decision to adopt a higher water budget following consultation has led to the percentage increase for urban ratepayers, who make up the majority of those connected to water and sewage systems.

Mayor Martin Connelly had spoken earlier of the difficult choices Councillors had to make. “We know this Council has a very small ratepayer base, compared to the size of the district, but has had to grapple with some huge issues costing a lot of money.

“However, our community is also hurting as the cost of living continues to rise. We needed to manage a fine balance between providing the right level of service without burdening our community beyond their means and have settled on the absolute necessities to maintain a reasonable level of service.”

He went on to add that “Should anyone feel the need to spread rates payments through the year or manage their payments differently so it is easier on their cashflow, then they should talk to the Council’s rates team as early as possible. They should call Council on 06 306 9611 during business hours.”

Council’s Interim Chief Executive, Paul Gardner, wished to remind our community that this Annual Plan refreshes information for year 3 of the 2021-31 Long-term Plan and also outlines current rates, fees and charges.

Mr. Gardner added, “Next year, Council will be releasing a refreshed Long-term Plan. We will be starting community engagement later this year, before embarking on a formal consultation process in the new year. That will be your chance to tell us about the future community you dream of. We hope to hear more, from more of you, then.”

Reference copies of the Plan will be available at our libraries and the Council’s office in Martinborough from the end of July 2023.

See the FAQs for answers to some of the questions that may arise following the adoption of the 2023/24 Annual Plan:

2023/24 Annual Plan FAQs

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