At yesterday’s Council Meeting (18/05/2016), councillors adopted Environment Southland’s Annual Plan 2016/17, reducing the projected overall rate increase of 5.40% down to 1.32% for the year.
To bring about the reduction, the council made adjustments to work programmes and budgets, and utilised a recently released South Port dividend, plus other reserves and surpluses.
This Annual Plan represents the second year of the Long-term Plan 2015-2025 and its main purpose is to present the 2016/17 budget and any differences to the Long-term Plan.
The Annual Plan 2016/17 has stayed true to the council’s priorities consulted on via the Long-term Plan consultation document Southland’s Big 3 (water, air, biodiversity) in 2015, and any changes are minor.
“It’s very pleasing to have achieved such a significant reduction in the forecasted rates,” said Environment Southland Chairman Ali Timms. “Aside from this, there are no surprises in the annual plan; we’re doing what we said we would.”
Recent changes to the Local Government Act mean public consultation on an annual plan is no longer required where, like the Annual Plan 2016/17, there are no significant changes.
“While there was no need to consult on this year’s annual plan, councillors are always available to talk with you about any matters of concern or interest at any time,” said Chairman Timms.
The projected biosecurity rate has also reduced from 8.30% down to 3.67% for the 2016/17 year, which was achieved by the council prudently transferring $100,000 from biosecurity surpluses.
The Annual Plan 2016/17 and a brief Annual Plan 2016/17 Overview document can be viewed online at www.es.govt.nz and hard copies will be available from public libraries, council service centres and Environment Southland’s office in Invercargill.