INDEPENDENT NEWS

Striking The Right Balance

Published: Tue 5 Mar 2024 06:30 PM
How and where ratepayer money will be spent in the Hurunui District for the next ten years was adopted as a draft Budget by Council this afternoon in Chambers.
In an extraordinary meeting, Councillors agreed unanimously to adopt a draft Budget for the 2024-34 draft Long Term Plan (LTP), which included a growth adjusted rates rise of 12.37%.
Council’s Chief Financial Officer Jason Beck said key issues facing ratepayers in the upcoming 2024/25 year is the increased cost required to drinking and wastewater supplies and a new rating structure for stormwater.
Mayor Marie Black acknowledged the challenges Councillors are facing with trying to keep rates down.
“This must coincide with continuing to deliver the essentials that reflect Council’s strategy of delivering good quality services supported by sustainable and resilient infrastructure.”
She conceded it’s no secret that the rising cost of living, building materials and infrastructure, and complexity of regulation, all creates an environment where everyone has to pay more for essential services.
Added to that, the population of Hurunui estimated at 14,500 in a large geographical space means rates money can only go so far.
“We are working hard to strike the right balance, but what know for certain is that as a council we strive to deliver key services and infrastructure that ensures a district that is future-proofed.”
East Ward Councillor Fiona Harris acknowledged the great collaboration between Council’s Chief Financial Officer Jason Beck and his team, working with the District’s Community Committees and Hanmer Springs Community Board to come up with solutions to the issues raised by the groups.
“Their voices have been heard, and adjustments have been included in the draft Budget we adopted today.”
Council will be going out for community consultation next month, with submission hearings planned for early May. Council is due to adopt the final 2024-34 LTP at the end of June 2024.

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