INDEPENDENT NEWS

Council Work Continues During Covid-19 Lockdown

Published: Wed 25 Mar 2020 11:27 AM
Although some Council services have been closed because of COVID-19, Council Chief Executive Wendy Walker says work to keep the city running smoothly will continue.
“As of tomorrow our Council offices will be closed but staff will continue to work for the city from home. They are also supporting the emergency response to COVID-19 including welfare support to our community.
“We’ll be providing our essential services like drinking water, waste removal, rubbish collection and emergency road repairs. Our regulatory team will carry on processing resource and building consents, the contact centre will be open 24/7 responding to requests from the community, animal control and basic services at the cemetery and crematorium will continue, our website will be updated daily to keep the community informed and we’ll use social media to help everyone get through these unprecedented times.
“Remaining separated will be challenging for many of us and getting some fresh air and exercise can also still be done our many walkways and open spaces.
“Your Council is still here for you so do continue to contact us and we will respond as best we can during this time,” Ms Walker says.
Last night the Council held its last meeting before the COVID-19 lockdown begins.
Mayor Anita Baker reduced the rate increase to 4.98% from a previously agreed proposed increase of 6.75%.
“This means that the city will have $1.2 million less than we need to fund our work, but during this time of uncertainty we agreed keeping the rate increase at 4.98% was necessary.
“It ensures the essential works for our city can continue. However, there are significant cost increases that we will need to look at in next year’s Long-term Plan.”
The Council will cover the shortfall from the reduced rates increase by borrowing. The interest per annum for this will be roughly $30K.
Mayor Baker says the Council would have liked to drop the rates increase further but that would compromise the city’s basic infrastructure that enables every home to turn on a tap for fresh water, flush the loo conveniently and move around the city easily on our roads and pathways.
“Porirua is going through major growth that’s putting pressure on our resources. We’ve also got infrastructure that hasn’t stood the test of time. Our water, wastewater and stormwater networks need significant investment and we can’t shy away from this fact.
“In the meantime, take care and let’s look out for each other and together we will get through this worrying time.”

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