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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:34am

Two children, in brightly coloured caps climb a hillside with a view of valley and mountains behind

The Council has confirmed it will consider options for a lower rates increase, or a rates freeze for the next financial year.

The Council today [Wednesday 15 April] signed off its Annual Plan Consultation Document, which will be released for public consultation later this month.

Consultation was scheduled to begin on 3 April, but was deferred so the Council could consider the impacts of COVID-19 on the community and review its priorities and rating requirements.

The Consultation Document originally proposed an average 3.5% rate increase, in line with the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan, but the Council will now seek public feedback on options to reduce this.

Options will include a rates freeze, with 2020/21 rates held at the same level as the current year, or an increase somewhere between 0% and 3.5%, depending on savings that can be identified.

Selwyn mayor Sam Broughton says the Council now wants to hear the community’s views on what level of rates increase is acceptable.

“We’re very aware of the disruptive effect the pandemic is having on the Selwyn community and economy,” he says. “While the full extent of the economic impact is yet to emerge, it’s clear that many households and businesses may be facing difficulties for some time.

“At the same time we know that the Council will have an important part to play in the district’s recovery. That means maintaining essential services, as well as continuing with infrastructure and facility projects that will provide jobs and boost economic activity.

“In this new environment our focus will change and some of the projects we previously saw as priorities will now be less important. So I encourage people to give us feedback through the Annual Plan on how the Council can best contribute to recovery.”

Consultation on the Draft Annual Plan will open on Wednesday 22 April, and close on Friday 22 May. The Consultation Document and online submission process will be available online from 22 April.