Annual Plan on the Agenda for 26 March

Published on 20 March 2024

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The Draft 2024-25 Annual Plan engagement document will be on the agenda at next week’s meeting of the Waitaki District Council.

Earlier this month, the Mayor and Councillors approved making the 2024-2025 year an Annual Plan, followed by a nine-year 2025-2034 Long Term Plan next year.

This option was given to Council by the Government as part of the Water Reform Repeal Bill, passed in February, to avoid having to make a significant amendment to their Long Term Plan in 2025.

Delaying the Long Term Plan gives Council time to understand Government’s direction on what we need to do with our water assets. There should also be more certainty on what the New Zealand Transport Agency’s funding will be for the next few years. Water and roading are the two biggest parts of Council’s expenditure.

The engagement document will provide the community with information about the future funding needs of the Waitaki district, and present options on water, roading and other services for 2024-2025 and beyond.

The document acknowledges that Council income streams are not increasing fast enough to cover the rising costs of Waitaki’s growing infrastructure needs.

When officers started looking at the budget for the 2024-2025 Financial Year, the average rate rise for Waitaki properties was sitting at around 26%.

Work has been done stripping back some proposals, revising budgets and looking at what can be done later, or differently, to reduce the proposed average rates increase down to 13.73% for the 2024-2025 financial year.

This rise will vary according to property location and value.

Mayor Gary Kircher says: “There are no easy options ahead if we are going to deliver what is needed for our district and communities in a way that is affordable for ratepayers. While we have worked hard to reduce the rating rise for this year, we want to discuss the implications of how we do that. There are still some tough choices ahead and it is important that our community has the opportunity to have their say.”

Chief Executive Alex Parmley says: “Council was already well along the transformation pathway, which has always been about getting value for money for the ratepayer and living within our means. This puts us in a good position to plan ahead for the next year, and the next ten years.”

Community feedback on the Annual Plan will open on Thursday 28 March and run through until Tuesday 30 April.

The engagement document, supporting information and feedback form will be available online on Council’s ‘Let’s Talk’ engagement hub, with print copies available at Council offices and Waitaki District Libraries.

Council is also holding a series of Q&As on Facebook Live and community meetings around the district in April.