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Suggested rates rise curbed at average of 13.73%

Waitaki App

Staff Reporter

21 March 2024, 11:09 PM

Suggested rates rise curbed at average of 13.73% Waitaki District Council chief executive Alex Parmley. Photo: Supplied

A proposed average rates rise of 13.73% will be discussed as part of the 2024-25 draft annual plan, at next week’s Waitaki District Council meeting.

Earlier this month, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and councillors approved having a 2024-2025 year Annual Plan, followed by a nine-year 2025-2034 Long Term Plan, rather than the usual ten years.

This option was offered to council by the Government to avoid it having to make a significant amendment to the Long Term Plan next year, following the Water Reform Repeal Bill which was passed in February.

The delay gives the council time to assess the Government's direction on what needs to happen with the district’s water assets and also allows for more certainty on what Waka Kotahi/New Zealand Transport Agency funding will be for the next few years.

Water and roading are the two biggest costs for the council.

The engagement document being discussed will provide the Waitaki with information about the future funding needs of the district, and present options on water, roading and other services for 2024-2025 and beyond.

It acknowledges council income streams are not increasing fast enough to cover the rising costs of Waitaki’s growing infrastructure needs, a media statement from the council said.

Work has been done stripping back some proposals, revising budgets and looking at what can be done later, or differently, to reduce the proposed average rates increase for the 2024-25 financial year.

Initially when the budget for the 2024-2025 financial year was under scrutiny, the average rate rise for Waitaki properties sat at around 26%.

This rise will vary according to property location and value.

There are no easy options ahead if the council is to deliver what is needed for the district and communities in a way that is affordable for ratepayers, Gary said.

“While we have worked hard to reduce the rating rise for this year, we want to discuss the implications of how we do that. There are still some tough choices ahead and it is important that our community has the opportunity to have their say.”

Council chief executive Alex Parmley said the council was already well along the “transformation pathway”. 

“Which has always been about getting value for money for the ratepayer and living within our means. This puts us in a good position to plan ahead for the next year, and the next ten years.”

Community feedback on the Annual Plan opens next Thursday (March 28) and runs through until Tuesday, April 30.

The engagement document, supporting information and feedback form will be available online on Council’s ‘Let’s Talk’ engagement hub, with print copies available at the council office on Thames Street and Waitaki District Libraries.

A series of Q&A sessions on Facebook Live and community meetings are being held around the district next month.