He karere mai nā te Koromatua nā te Tumu Whakarae
Life is challenging for many Waitakians right now.
Local, national, and international trends and events are continuing to cause ripple effects within and across our district’s communities. Many of you may be finding yourselves affected by any number of pressures, such as affordability of food and housing, mortgage payments, business rents, or planning for approaching retirement.
Adding to these pressures, you may be feeling a sense of uncertainty in relation to the Government’s plans for the future ownership and control of our Three Waters assets, along with other proposed Government reforms, and what this means for you, the people, and the places of Waitaki you care about.
Council is feeling these same pressures, dealing with the government reforms whilst seeing the cost of goods, services, projects, and infrastructure increase significantly. Therefore, we empathise with anyone and everyone who is doing it tough right now.
Our approach to the Annual Plan for the upcoming financial year, as outlined in this engagement document, has been to take into account the increasing pressures our communities are facing.
Our commitment and focus is on ensuring the wellbeing of Waitaki’s communities. This involves striking a delicate balance between ensuring Waitaki’s communities have robust core infrastructure, services and facilities, on the one hand, and maintaining a level of service provision which is affordable, on the other.
To find this balance for the upcoming financial year, we have been working extremely hard in the lead up to this engagement period, to find ways we might be able to limit the rates increase for 2023-24, whilst ensuring you remain as supported by us as possible.
As a result, we are proposing some changes to our programme of activities and finances, which were originally developed as part of Council’s Long Term Plan (LTP) for 2021-31.
The 2023-24 LTP year included projects and general costs which required an overall 9.3% increase in rates. This was calculated on a low inflation rate of 1.5%. The situation has since changed and we are now dealing with an inflation rate of more than 7%, which would put the proposed rates increase closer to 15%. So, we are changing our plan, reducing our projects, and limiting the increases, to lower our proposed average rate increase to 8.06%, though this will vary for each ratepayer.
We would like to hear your thoughts on the proposed changes presented in pages 10-13.
Council is continuing to take a look at how we can work better for our community. Through our Transformation Programme, we are looking at every aspect of how Council works with a view to making it more efficient and effective in how it delivers. We need to consider the changing needs of our communities, and the reforms we are subject to. Over the coming year, we will put considerable effort into this programme and look forward to people across the district starting to see the benefits of the changes we plan to make.
We encourage you to read the Annual Plan engagement document and share your feedback with us.
Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae
Mayor for Waitaki | Koromatua