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Far North Council adopts Annual Plan 2020/21

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Affordability, economic recovery and the need to fund essential services remained key considerations for the Far North District Council when it adopted its Annual Plan 2020/21 yesterday.

The Mayor and Councillors confirmed a 2.23% increase in rates revenue they proposed earlier this month after considering submissions to the Annual Plan. The rates increase is lower than a 3.94% increase the Council proposed before the economic downturn and is possible due to a reduction in operating costs and depreciation of strategic assets by 24% in 2020/21.

Mayor John Carter says the financial year, which starts on 1 July, will be a challenging one, not just for the Far North but New Zealand. "We are aware of the financial hardship COVID-19 has caused for households and businesses and have tried to minimise rate increases, while ensuring we have sufficient funds to continue providing essential services."

Elected members have also tried to ensure the Council has the resources to support the district’s economic recovery. It is contesting millions of dollars of central government funding for new infrastructure projects that will create jobs. "We are confident we will receive funds for some of the 17 ‘shovel-ready’ projects we have identified, so our capital works programme for the year remains in a fluid state until we know the outcome of these bids."

Ensuring the drought-resilience of the District’s water supplies will also be a priority for the Council in 2020/21. "The Far North has a rainfall deficit and weather forecasters are predicting a dryer than usual winter. We are progressing works that will provide Kaitaia and Kaikohe with new water sources and are costing options designed to make our other water supplies more drought-resilient."

The Council will send 2020/21 rates assessments based on 2019 land values to ratepayers in mid-July. Ratepayers can find out what their rates will be by checking the Rating Information Database on the Council’s website. "Rates relief measures we adopted in April will remain in place until the end of September. We encourage those who are experiencing financial hardship to contact us to set up payment arrangements."

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