Total rate increase minimised in draft Annual Plan
Savings of $2m and a rates increase lower than projected are features of Gisborne District Council’s draft 2013/14 Annual Plan that was adopted for consultation on Thursday 28 February. Council is proposing to collect $50m in rates in the next financial year, a significant reduction from the $52m originally forecast.
The Annual Plan outlines what Council intends to do in the 12 months from July and what it will cost ratepayers. The $50m equates to a 2.5% increase in rates collected across the district. Actual changes for individual ratepayers will vary depending on where they live, the value of their property and the services provided in different areas.
Analysis shows that nearly 1400 ratepayers would actually see a reduction in their rates and nearly 17,000 ratepayers would see an increase of less than $2 per week. Around 1300 rate payers will have a rates increase of more than $5 a week.
Ratepayers can see what affect the proposed plan will have on their property by using the online rates calculator on our website from Monday 4 March. The rates charged on a property currently are compared with what rates would be charged should the Annual Plan get adopted without any changes.
The draft plan forecasts an operational surplus of $9m. This is a ‘book surplus’ not cash collected by Council. It can’t be used to reduce the amount of rates required.
Lower debt, working with other organisations to help fund our community projects and making changes to how we as an organisation work, has made the savings possible, says Judy Campbell, Chief Executive.
“The elected Council and staff have put in a lot of work to achieve these savings without any significant changes to the coming year’s levels of service and capital works programme. Our focus is on putting our plans into action – making progress on the major community projects and ensuring we keep developing and maintaining the district’s essential infrastructure.”
“There is still work to do on our rating system. We want to make rates easier to understand and to avoid the large swings - increases and decreases – some properties have faced when small changes are made to how we rate. This work has started with proposed changes to 3 targeted rates this year and a complete review of our Revenue and Financing Policy over the next 12 months.”
“Now the draft plan has been considered by Council we hand it over to the public to have their say on our proposals for 2013/14. We hope to get as much community feedback as possible.”
A summary of the plan and submission form will be delivered to all households from Monday 4 March. The full plan will be available on Council’s website from that date or copies are available at the HB Williams Memorial library or Customer Services in Fitzherbert Street and Te Puia Springs.
Mayor Meng Foon and Council managers will be hitting the road over the next month attending 21 update meetings in communities throughout the district.
Public consultation will run from 5 March to 5 April 2013. Come along to a meeting near you.