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In the final day of discussions on the city’s draft 10-year plan, councillors unanimously agreed to a report for inclusion in its 2022-23 annual plan
looking at how it could provide assistance for ratepayers on a limited or fixed income.
Cr Jim O’Malley, who moved the motion, said two groups — people on fixed incomes and low incomes — would be worried about what a 9.8% rates rise would mean for their ability to pay.
He said the council needed freedom to spend money required to improve the city.
"We want to feel we are somewhat freed up and
not having to worry about the stresses on that group [of people]."
Preparing the report for the 2022-23 annual plan would mean enough time for staff to consider the consequences of any decisions, Cr O’Malley said.
Cr Christine Garey said people often did not know about financial support available, including the rates rebate scheme.
Council financial controller Gavin Logie said while the council did encourage people to seek a rates rebate, it would need to investigate other options for supporting ratepayers.
Managed by the Department of Internal Affairs, the rates rebate provides a subsidy to low-income homeowners
for the cost of their rates and
is administered by local councils.
Cr Lee Vandervis said hardship provision was an issue on which the council should take further action.
"We need something to help soften that blow."
Cr O’Malley said while people had a different idea of what form the assistance might take, the report would produce suggestions.