Consultation on the draft 2020/2021 Annual Plan and budget begins on Monday, 25 May. The Council is seeking community feedback on the key proposals outlined in the consultation document, which relate to changes in the work programme and budgets set-out for 2020/21 in the Long Term Plan.
This year’s draft budget outlines, and sets out to respond to, what are extraordinary and unprecedented local, national and international economic circumstances. It does so with a four-pronged approach: enabling an immediate reaction to the economic implications of COVID-19 and the Whakaari / White Island events; preparing to boost the District’s economy; thinking and planning ahead; and relieving the pressure on ratepayers.
The draft budget has a mix of Council cost saving initiatives, due to the current economic downturn, and investment proposals to help stimulate the economy. The budget deferrals amount to $2,409,500. The plan equates to an average rating increase of 3.5 percent for 2020/21. This is lower than the pre-COVID-19 predicted increase.
Due to the major setbacks the community has received in recent months, timelines have been condensed for the planning and implementation of this year’s Annual Plan. This shorter timeline has also affected the consultation process, which will be slightly shorter this year, to be run over three weeks from 25 May – 15 June.
Consultation itself will be different this year, with COVID-19 Alert Level 2 restrictions meaning large scale, face-to-face gatherings will not be possible. Despite this, the engagement will do its best to provide a variety of ways to feedback and submit on the plan.
Alongside the Annual Plan proposals, the community’s feedback is being sought on how we might “Reimagine the future of the Whakatāne District” beyond the 2020-2021 financial year. This is to help develop a vision and priorities for how the District recovers, rebuilds and in some ways reinvents itself, during the next 10-30 years.
“Throughout this crisis, we have received clear direction from Central Government that it is looking to councils to create economic spend and support local job creation and retention to support economic recovery. We’ve also spoken to many people and organisations within our District who are looking to the Council for leadership. The draft budget and our conversations on how we might reimagine a future Whakatāne, are the beginning of our response to these signals,” says Mayor Judy Turner.
The Council is also proposing some policy changes to support the Annual Plan, including:
- Temporary changes to its Significance and Engagement Policy to allow for more agile decision-making during this unprecedented time.
- Changes to Council’s Revenue and Financing Policy to enable fairer spread of rates costs across the community.
More details on the draft budget are available on the Council’s website, including opportunities to submit feedback and make submissions on proposals.
Properties across the District have recently been revalued. In this round of revaluations, there has been a significant variation in how the value of properties around the District has changed. What this means is that a property that has increased in value proportionally more than others, will pay proportionally more rates. So, while the average rates increase is 3.5 percent across the District, some households will pay more than this, and some will pay less. Revaluations do not change the total amount of rates that are collected, just how they are divided up amongst ratepayers
To view the consultation document, visit koreromai.whakatane.govt.nz/annual-plan-2020-21.