Long-term Plan adopted
Councillors today adopted the Long-term Plan 2021-2031, which will set the scene for the next ten years, with a particular focus on the next three.
Chairman Nicol Horrell said this has been the most challenging long-term plan he has be involved with, as councillors worked to address the increasing workloads and the financial uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It took a great deal of effort and focus to plan for the work we need to do, while also achieving a balanced budget as we are required to do under the Local Government Act.
“We never take rates increases lightly, but I can assure the community we have done everything we can keep the increase as low as possible, given the pressures we are facing. This includes significant operational expenditure savings and a clear sense of direction for the future.”
The major increase in work stems from community expectations and central government requirements in relation to freshwater and climate change.
“The community has told us that climate change and improved freshwater quality are priorities for them, while the Government has been very clear in its expectations.
“Our People, Water and Land programme is already making progress towards improving our freshwater, but we will need to step up our work programme in order to meet the targets set by government.”
An average rates increase of 20% in the first year and 5% for each year thereafter has been approved.
The Long-term Plan proposals were available for feedback during June, with 50 submissions received and 16 people taking the opportunity to speak in person to councillors.
Other key issues addressed in the Long-term Plan were the development of a new rate for the Waituna rating district for bank stabilisation work and confirmation of funding of $106,200 per annum for the next three years for Predator Free Southland.
The 2021-31 Long-term Plan is available online at www.es.govt.nz/ltp or from Environment Southland.