Monday, June 26, 2023

Tasman’s Annual Plan adopted and Rates set for next twelve months



Tasman District Council has adopted its Annual Plan for 2023/2024, enabling rates to be set for the next 12 months at a rates revenue increase of 8.57%.

The Annual Plan was adopted at a Full Council meeting on June 22, 2023 and confirms what services and projects we intend to deliver, what they will cost and how they will be funded.

Costs have been affected by higher-than-anticipated inflation, increased interest rates, labour shortages and greater depreciation costs.

As a result, this year’s Annual Plan has required us to look closely at our programme of works and capital projects while finding the best way to deliver essential services and infrastructure to the people of Tasman.

Acting Mayor Stuart Bryant said the decision to increase rates was not taken lightly, especially at a time when many households and businesses were dealing with the pressures of the high cost of living, uncertain economic conditions and potential effects of adverse weather events.

“Significant discussion and work has been undertaken by staff and elected members to reduce the rates increase from the initial 9.06%.”

“However, any rates increase is another cost for the community, and so it is important to ensure the necessary service levels and investment is balanced by the cost to the community. 

“Adopting our Annual Plan will help us meet community concerns about increased costs while ensuring the Council’s position remains sustainable.”

There were 97 submissions received on the Annual Plan with most submitters favouring proposed budget reductions included in the consultation document.

As a result, some changes have been made to what was set out in Tasman’s 10- year Plan for 2023/2024 to help contain the rates revenue increase.

This included using a combination of Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) credits and forestry surpluses, reallocating Better Off Funding from the Government while using more reserve financial contributions to help fund the development of specific recreation and cultural facilities.

While these decisions will raise net debt, it will still allow us to remain within the cap of $250 million at the end of the 2023/2024 financial year.

The Annual Plan budget has included a number of new social and environmental projects for 2023/2024, including;

  • New public transport service starting in mid-2023, to Motueka (via Māpua and Tasman) and Wakefield (via Brightwater and Hope).
  • Significant improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure in Richmond, Motueka and Māpua.
  • $1 million to increase road maintenance.
  • Starting a joint plan with Nelson City Council to replace the Nelson and Tasman Resource Management Plans with a new combined plan.
  • Producing new freshwater plans to implement the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management.
  • Carrying out planting and upgrading recreation facilities at Kingsland Forest Park.

The final Annual Plan document will be available on the Council’s website in the coming weeks. Copies will also be made available at the Council’s service centres and libraries.

The Council also increased its fees and charges for services for the 2023-24 year. The nearly 10% increase across all fees and charges is to take account of the stagnant or reduced charges over the last two years designed to minimise the impact of Covid recovery and a slowing economy.

Stuart said as the economy begins to right itself it is now appropriate to ensure the fees and charges  reflect the true cost of delivering those services. 

“Fundamentally those that use the services, which include Resource and Building consents, licences and hire of facilities amongst others - and gain benefit - should be paying for them.”

“These costs should not be subsidised by all ratepayers, especially when they see no benefit. In effect, the increase and righting of fees and charges provides a greater level of transparency to the costs of the organisation.”

The new fees and charges will apply from 1 July 2023.

Tasman District Council

Pigeon Post News, Richmond

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