Workshop provides first look at 2024 – 2034 LTP financial position
This week’s Long-term Plan workshop provided a first look into what the financial position of the next 10 years could look like, and what the expected rates and debt could be through the 2024 – 2034 Long-term Plan.
Group Manager Corporate Services, Thomas Collé, outlined the financial modelling for the ten year delivery programme, which included an overview of how the organisation could finance the investment required for baseline service provision and what the impact would be on rates and debt.
This showed economic and regulatory pressures significantly impacting operating and capital expenditure costs for Council, seeing initial rates forecast to potentially increase in 2025 by 14%, before dropping to 6% in 2026 and 5% in 2027. Councillors will continue to discuss and refine the proposed Long-term Plan with a final decision on rates to be made after community consultation next year.
Rotorua Mayor, Tania Tapsell says, “Our Council is far from satisfied with the initial forecast rates increase for the first three years of this Long-term Plan. As prudent decision makers, we must now investigate every option available to us to deliver essential services in a more affordable and responsible way, providing certainty and stability to our community going forward.
“It’s important to note the current forecast rates increase is not due to an increase in spending by Council, but is largely due to inflation which is seeing the cost of all goods and services go up. All households and businesses are feeling the pain of increasing prices across the board and unfortunately council is not exempt from this.
“Councils around the country, and organisations such as Treasury NZ, have indicated the Long-term Plans due to be adopted next year will be the most challenging for Councils to date due to current high inflation and interest rates.
“Our Council will be looking to limit spending to only critical infrastructure upgrades and renewals as much as possible to ensure the health and safety of our residents, to protect our environment and to build our resilience against weather events.
“The challenge of reducing spend in this very challenging economic environment has fallen to us. It is our very important job to balance what our community needs and wants with what we can afford,” says Mayor Tapsell.
“We don’t underestimate the task ahead of us and the impact this will have on our community.
“As we tackle these decisions, we will take our community on this journey with us and are looking to put forward the best proposals for community feedback during our consultation period next year.”
Following direction from elected members during this week’s workshop, council officers will refine financial options for further discussion at the next LTP workshops on Tuesday 5 December and Monday 13 December.
Long-term Plan proposals will go out for consultation next year and community feedback will be considered ahead of final decision making in June 2024.