Our Council adopted the final Annual Plan for 2020/2021 on 30 June 2020, with an average rate increase of 4.98 per cent and increases to some fees and charges, especially in the solid waste area. This is lower than the 9.98 per cent increase originally proposed and takes into consideration the reduction of our Council’s capital expenditure due to COVID-19 and the feedback we received from our public consultation. “We are living through extraordinary times and an extraordinary year due to the impact of COVID-19. Everyone has had to make changes to the way we live, work and play,” our Mayor Sandra Goudie says. “The feedback we received in our public consultation and the impact caused by COVID-19 has resulted in changes to what we originally proposed,” Mayor Sandra says. “Some projects have been deferred or stopped, some have been kept, and others cut.” “We have achieved the lower rates increase of 4.98 per cent by reducing capital and operational spending largely due to the impact of COVID-19 and public feedback,” Mayor Sandra says. Read the full Annual Plan. Some of the highlights: Impact of COVID-19 on 2019/20 capital spending: Reduced by approximately $12 million from the level rated for, which equates to a 1.6 per cent lower rates increase for 2020/21. Projects committed to in 2019/20 that were not completed due to COVID-19 have been carried forward to the 2020/21 financial year. Capital spending for 2020/21: A $34.9 million programme was proposed This has been reduced to $31.4 million Some examples of capital projects removed or deferred: Thames – New Rhodes Park grandstand and club rooms: $2.8 million. Coromandel Town – Premier netball courts: $325,000. Whitianga – Sports ground development: $266,500. Pauanui – Kennedy Park fitness equipment. $147,000. Whangamata – Wharf pontoon renewal: $65,000. Operational spending: Adjustments include restrictions on recruitment and a staff salary freeze, a reduction in the training budget, reduced major events funding, deferred property maintenance and adjustments to the infrastructure work programme. These amount to a $2.5 million decrease in operational spending, which equates to a 3.4 per cent reduction in the rates increase. Smoothing loan: For the 2020/21 financial year our Council has an unbalanced budget, which means that revenue does not meet operating expenditure. As proposed in our consultation on the Annual Plan, a smoothing loan of $6 million is being used to spread the effect of increased costs across the five-year repayment period. How we got to 4.98 per cent Fees and Charges: Some new fees have been introduced and existing fees have been increased in several areas to reflect increases in costs. This helps offset further rates increases. The most significant changes are in rubbish and recycling. For example: Official blue Council rubbish bags: $2.80 to $3.90 Refuse Transfer Station fees: Waste (tonne): $197 to $260 Green waste (tonne): $126 to $164 Car bodies (stripped): No charge to $25 Car bodies (unstripped): $50 to $75 Whiteware: No charge to $10 The complete schedule of fees and charges is available on our website at www.tcdc.govt.nz/fees. The Long Term Plan is coming Further rates increases or other revenue sources and/or savings such as reduced service levels will be needed to service the smoothing loan and to make sure our Council can operate a balanced budget going forward. This will be considered as we develop the 2021-2031 LTP.