Kāpiti Coast District Councillors will consider a 2.6 per cent rates rise tomorrow.
This is less than half the rate rise predicted before the Covid-19 lockdown (5.7 per cent).
The decision on rates will come at a meeting to discuss the draft Annual Plan and average rates increase for the 2020/21 year.
Mayor K Gurunathan says in light of the COVID-19 virus and the need to support the Kāpiti Coast community the Council has reassessed its planned spending for the year ahead.
“We are acutely aware of the fact that many people and businesses in our community are hurting as a result of the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19.
“And we can expect that things will continue to be difficult and uncertain for some time to come,” Mr Gurunathan says.
“As a Council we’ve moved at pace to review budgets to make sure we are well placed to support the Kāpiti Coast community and (the)economy to get back on its feet while making sure that we can continue to do our job and deliver essential services in a sustainable way.
‘Goalposts have moved’
“At the heart of these discussions has been the need to try and keep rates as low as possible for Kāpiti ratepayers. The goalposts have moved dramatically since the Council first starting talking about its plans for the financial year ahead.”
Prior to New Zealand entering the Alert Level 4 lockdown the Council was looking at an average rates increase of 5.7 per cent.
“For the coming year we are proposing a 2.6 per cent rates increase. To get to this figure we’ve had to make some difficult decisions about our work programme and what we can progress and what will have to be put on hold. We’ve also looked at our funding arrangements.
“To go any lower, or to have a zero rates increase, would only defer necessary costs or require us to make cuts to services which would then lead to higher than average rates increases in future years to enable us to ‘catch-up’.
“It would also limit the Council’s ability to support the district to recover from COVID-19.”
The virtual meeting tomorrow
The Council will formally discuss the draft 2020/21 Annual Plan and proposed average rates increase at its virtual Council meeting tomorrow.
The Mayor adds: “Kāpiti faces a range of challenges and opportunities, some of which are longstanding, and some which are unknown at this point.
“As noted by the Treasury, the COVID-19 pandemic is a ‘once in a century’ event that will have profound impacts on economic and financial systems globally and in New Zealand.
“It is essential that the Council continues to deliver its services and play its vital role in the District’s economic, social and cultural recovery.”