9 July 2020
Rotorua Lakes Council’s 2020/21 Annual Plan is a progressive plan that backs the community and will enable the district to keep moving forward, Mayor Steve Chadwick says.
The Annual Plan was adopted at a meeting of the Full Council today.
“These are challenging and dynamic times which require an ability to be flexible and adaptable to new challenges and opportunities when they arise,” Mayor Chadwick said following the meeting.
“Retrenching would send Rotorua backwards and that is not an option – that will not help us to “build back better” which is the approach that underpins our recovery and is reflected in our Annual Plan.”
Adoption of the annual plan was followed by the striking of the rates, as set out in the annual plan – including a 0% general rates increase and 4% targeted rates rise to reflect increased wastewater, water supply and waste costs.
Mayor Chadwick said the annual plan is focussed on cushioning the impact of COVID-19 and positioning the district for a positive and speedy recovery
“Council is in a good position – and we are investing in infrastructure and managing prudently.
“We’re continuing to deliver essential services, and continuing with existing projects that keep companies and people in work.
“We’re also very aware we need to be prudent and purposeful – and we know partnering and collaborating remains key to our district’s recovery.”
The Mayor said the annual plan takes a partnership approach to rebuilding the local economy, working in collaboration with iwi, business sectors and other community leaders and with Central Government.
“We’re reaping the benefits of good relationships,” she says. “We’ve secured over $100m in Government investment in our district in recent years and just this week we saw our collaborative approach to housing manifested in the signing of an agreement between Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands and Kainga Ora that will deliver much-needed homes.
“COVID-19 forced us to rethink and reframe our annual plan and I’m very proud of what we have achieved to support our community’s recovery,” Mayor Chadwick said.
The annual plan sets the council’s direction and financial framework for the next financial year (1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021).
Following consideration of community feedback, the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee, at its recent meeting, recommended that Council proceed with the strategies and actions proposed, as outlined below:
Provide for cushioning the blow
- Continue to offer rates deferment.
A prudent approach to rating
- One-off savings to achieve a 0% increase in the general rate.
- 4.0% increase in targeted rates for new essential wastewater, water supply and refuse services.
- Reduce UAGC by $25 to achieve a fairer and more even impact of targeted rates increases.
- Introduce a remission for accommodation providers who are highly impacted by COVID-19 and the increased sewage targeted rate.
Economic recovery planning
- Partnerships with Government, Te Arawa and business leaders implemented to shape recovery action across the short, medium and long term.
Directly investing in recovery
- New $1m one-off resilience fund to support community initiatives.
- Recommence existing capital projects to drive employment.
- New $29m fund for partnership projects that create employment and stimulate the economy.
Prudent use of debt funding
- Up to One-off $1m debt funding for the Airport.
- Forecast reduction in fees and charges income will further increase debt ($4.5m currently).
- Investment into Infracore Limited to support their capital replacement programme.
Planning to adapt & managing risk
- Management of risk through a deliberate staged approach to operational and capital commitments during 2020-21.
Responding to emerging adverse impacts
- Continue to monitor wellbeing indicators and Government responses.
- Evaluate local impacts across the four wellbeings (social, economic, environmental and cultural).
- Be prepared to respond to emerging challenges.
- Continue to support the Rotorua ‘all of Government’ collective impact group.
- Be prepared for Council to support Government’s response locally.
- Maintain longer-term focus.
Responding to circumstances but maintaining direction
- Continuity of Council services.
- Key place-making projects continue.
- Homes and thriving communities strategy continues.
- Recovery strategy enabled.
Councillors Reynold Macpherson, Peter Bentley and Raj Kumar asked that their votes against the annual plan be recorded.
Councillors Macpherson and Kumar asked that their votes against the striking of the rates be recorded.
Today’s meeting was livestreamed and the recording can be viewed at THIS LINK on Council’s YouTube channel. Council passed a number of recommendations from its committees before moving to adoption of the annual plan and striking of the rates.
The meeting agenda can be viewed at THIS LINK on Council’s website. Go to p8 for the report on the Annual Plan and p12 for the report on the striking of the rates.
The annual plan ‘at a glance’ can be viewed at THIS LINK – please note that reference to 4.7% targeted rates rise should read 4%