At the extra ordinary meeting of Ōpōtiki District Council on Tuesday 30 June, Council adopted the 2020/21 Annual Plan.
Annual Plans support long term plans and provide the basis for setting and assessing rates for each year. In accordance with the amendments to the Local Government Act in 2014, Council has been able to save ratepayers the cost of undertaking a Special Consultative Procedure this year as there are no significant changes from the content of the Long Term Plan.
Instead of a Special Consultative Procedure, Council still sought feedback on the 2020/21 Annual Plan Information Document 'Our plan in action'. In addition to written feedback through various council channels, submitters spoke directly to council on Friday 12 June.
Based on the Annual Plan budgets, the annual plan will see a rates rise of 2.92%, well below the forecast 5.09% in the Long Term Plan.
Council's Finance and Corporate Services Group Manager, Bevan Gray said that there were several reasons for the lower rates rise. These were;
- A salary freeze for all staff for the coming year (and reduction in travel and accommodation budgets)
- Removing consultant costs to cover the preparation of the Long Term Plan
- Not filling staff vacancies where possible
- Assumptions about central government funding for capital projects
- Postponing or removing several projects from next year
"The bulk of the rates increase is due to unavoidable increases in costs. For example, solid waste is costing much more across the country to dispose of and that is not something we have control over. In addition, some of our large-scale infrastructure improvements such as the sewer rehabilitation and Ōpōtiki Water Supply mean there are increases in those targeted rates to carry the loan cost over the long-term life of the infrastructure.
"But taking out those unavoidable increases and many of the savings we have managed to claw back over the recent months, we are effectively at a zero increase position, albeit with variable impacts arising from the revaluation process," Mr Gray said.
Council also resolved not to make any changes to fees and charges in this year's Annual Plan which means fees for services such as dog registration or alcohol licensing and metered water charges will remain the same as last year.
How this is allocated across the district varies considerably due to the three yearly district revaluation that was undertaken last year.
A full copy of the Opotiki District Council 2020-21 Annual Plan is available on our Annual Plan page.