Regional council announces 6.9% increase in rates

Southlanders are set to contribute $1,172,747 in regional council rates over the next financial year.

Environment Southland adopted its 2019-20 annual plan yesterday and announced a 6.9% increase in rates.

In line with the council's long-term plan, the annual plan focuses on significant issues concerning water quality and quantity, community resilience and investment in Southland.

Environment Southland said individual rates amounts might vary significantly this year, partly due to recent QV revaluations within the Southland District Council area.

Chairman Nicol Horrell said individual rates were determined by a number of factors, one of which was property value.

''In setting the rates, we've been mindful of the challenging economic climate and have worked hard to reduce the rates impact on all Southlanders.''

He said Environment Southland had made progress on a number of fronts this year, including its biggest work priority, water quality and quantity.

''We are continuing to build on the solid research gathered from our four-year Southland science and economic projects.

''The data and information gathered gives us a strong platform for our community conversations about water, and for the decisions we need to make as a community.''

The council previously stated in its long-term plan it would discuss improving water rates to fund on-ground initiatives that would benefit water quality.

However, it decided to put consultation on hold due to the Government's plans to examine future funding options for local councils, aside from the land-based rates.

''As there are no significant changes to the long-term plan, we won't be consulting on this annual plan.

''However, councillors are always available and interested in people's views, so please get in touch if there's something you'd like to discuss,'' Mr Horrell said.

The annual plan will be put into action officially on July 1.

An overview document and the plan itself will be available online at the Environment Southland website here.

abbey.palmer@odt.co.nz

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