2020 – 2021 Annual Plan to Be Adopted With A 1.5% Rate Increase

Waimakariri District Council today deliberated the 2020 – 2021 Annual Plan which was revised following the COVID19 pandemic lockdown to keep rate increases as low as possible – from a proposed 4% down to 1.5%.

Increases will vary depending on the property, but generally speaking an average property will see an increase of approximately $45 per year or $11.25 every quarter.

Mayor Dan Gordon says this will mean the Council is in a position to ease the immediate pressure on households while still being able to play a role in the economic recovery of the District.

“To get to 1.5% we have taken a long, hard look at our finances and adjusted our plans, projections and assumptions for the coming years. We’ve heard from residents that they are looking for us to keep any increases as low as possible this year while positioning the Council to help Waimakariri recover - which is exactly what we’ve done.”

The changes to the budget has saved $2.9m in spending and also $2.2m in planned rates funding.

This was achieved through a significant reprioritisation of over $10m of capital works to outer years, lowering repayments in the coming year to the earthquake loan, as well as a line-by-line review of all budgets. It’s also meant a remuneration freeze for staff, cuts on training budgets and new positions have been deferred for the foreseeable future.

“Getting our rates down to this point the Council believe will help in the short term while also minimising the locally felt and longer lasting economic effects of COVID-19.”

Due to COVID19 restrictions the Council lost $2.25m of income which will be progressively paid off over the coming ten years via a loan.

“This is a common sense approach that looks after residents today, while also making decisions which will help us recover. One way of doing this is not completely sacrificing our capital programme as we know there is infrastructure which is required and the demand on this helps keep businesses going and local people in local jobs.”

While some capital projects are being deferred the Council is still proposing a significant capital expenditure programme of $67 million in the 2020/21 year, which includes $28 million to finish construction of Stadium Waimakariri. The Council has also submitted to the central government ‘shovel-ready’ projects list which, if funded, would provide a significant boost to the local economy.

Projects submitted include road and intersection updates (a number of smaller projects, as well as the realignment of the Skewbridge Road bridge – $25m) , Kaiapoi stormwater management and flood protection ($18m), drinking water infrastructure and UV treatment ($12m), and big picture projects like the Wheels to Waipara cycleway ($10m), and the Woodend Bypass (NZTA are also supporting this project) which will also better enable the development of the Ravenswood residential and commercial area.

The Council is also in the early stages of drafting a Recovery Plan which will assess economic impacts of the pandemic on the District and signal the desired outcomes and actions to address the immediate, short and long-term needs of our community as we bounce back.

With the economic effects of the pandemic yet to be fully felt the Council is, and will always, offer a range of relief and support initiatives for residents and businesses looking for help with rates. To discuss these please phone 0800 965 468 (0800 WMK GOV).

The Annual Plan will be formally adopted on 16 June.