Reduced rates rises on agenda

A reduction, or a 0% rise, are up for discussion as Southland councils rethink annual plans because of Covid-19.

Invercargill City councillor Nobby Clark has asked the council to ensure there would be no rates rise for the next financial year. He believed no project would be delayed as a result.

Invercargill’s long-term plan suggests a 3.14% rates increase for the 2020-21 year but a report presented to council last month said the total forecast could be greater than 8.1%.

Invercargill deputy mayor Toni Biddle ruled out this figure.

She said council had asked staff to create a rates postponement policy for consideration at its next meeting.

She said there had been suggestions a zero rates increase would be the right move for the coming year, but councillors asked for information on the impact on a range of rates rises from 0% to 3.5%.

Southland Mayor Gary Tong said Southland District Council staff were also doing studies to minimise rates impact as much as possible.

In January, councillor John Douglas revealed the district council’s rate could increase to 7.59% — more than twice that proposed in its long-term plan.

Gore Mayor Tracey Hicks said the Gore District Council was engaging with the Government to understand what kind of subsidies were available.

"We are talking about the ability to progress with the projects that we have in our books."

Gore’s long-term plan suggested ratepayers would have a 4.53% rise for the 2020-21 year, but Mr Hicks hoped that could be reduced.

All Southland councils will announce decisions by the end of May.



Be nice to see a rethink of Alexandra's proposed 16% rate rise.






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