NOTICE: Rates reduction options meeting – an update

29 October 2021

On Wednesday (October 27), South Wairarapa District Councillors and Officials met to consider options for reducing the rates burden on ratepayers for this financial year (2021/22). This was in response to the higher-than-expected increase in rates compared to what was communicated during the Long Term Plan consultation process. Their preferred position was as follows:

Council resolved to consider the options for reducing the budget and rates for the 2021/22 financial year, and agreed that the preferred position to discuss with the community in November 2021 was to work towards making reductions in costs that do not significantly reduce levels of service and carry over savings to the next financial year.

Councillors considered three options from a report submitted by Council Officers. Their preferred position for reducing the rates burden on ratepayers will be discussed with ratepayers at a series of public meetings in early November.

The rates were set based on the Long Term Plan and associated budgets, which were confirmed in June after public consultation.

Wednesday’s meeting was a chance for Councillors to consider the options available to address the rates increase and the impact of these options.

The options discussed by Councillors were:

  1. Cutting costs and levels of service by amending the Long Term Plan, and resetting the rates;
  2. Reducing costs that do not significantly cut levels of service, and resetting the rates
  3. Reducing costs that do not significantly cut levels of service and carrying over savings to the next financial year.

They felt there was little appetite among ratepayers for a reduction in services. At the same time, they heard that resetting the rates in this financial year would also result in unbudgeted costs and incur a significant amount of work due to the time left.

The majority of councillors agreed their preference was the third option, with the intent that it would reduce rates in 2022/23.

Councillors understood that adopting a preference at this stage was not a final decision, as they still wanted to hear what the public had to say at the upcoming meetings.

After considering that feedback, they will make a decision at the Council meeting on 17 November.

Earlier public feedback to the Council

During the process of drafting the 10-year Long Term Plan in April, the Council received 685 submissions which helped it make five “big decisions”.

These included $1m for a play space in Greytown, extra funding for footpath work, stopping Council mowing of urban berms, keeping the Greytown recycling station open and suspending rural road sealing extensions.

With regards to berms, 59 per cent of submitters favoured or strongly favoured ending the Council’s town berm mowing service, a saving of $110,000 a year.


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