9 Jun 2020

Far North council rates to increase 2.23%

2:50 pm on 9 June 2020

The Far North District Council is proposing to increase rates after deliberating on submissions to its annual plan.

Generic money.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The mayor and councillors voted to increase rates by 2.23 percent, close to the cost of inflation. The rates increase is lower than a 3.94 percent increase the council proposed before the economic downturn.

The council also voted to:

  • Reduce funded depreciation for strategic assets by 24 percent in 2020/21. The council will recover this money from 2021/22 to 2025/26.
  • Allocate $300,000 to an Economic Recovery Support Fund to support businesses and community groups.
  • Approve the introduction of an accounting policy for the way the council funds depreciation on its assets and continue to discuss depreciation funding at a series of workshops.
  • Increase 2020/21 footpath funding in Te Hiku Ward by $130,000 to allow completion of a loop footpath joining Te Ahu and Te Hiku Sports Hub in Kaitaia.
  • Reduce forecast revenue from i-SITE visitor information centres to $123,056 in 2020/21.
  • Grant $10,000 to the Doubtless Bay Information Centre for 2020/21 and review the efficiency and effectiveness of i-SITEs and Council service centres before Long Term Plan 2021-31.
  • Review funding for Te Ahu in Kaitaia and The Turner Centre in Kerikeri before the end of 2020.
  • Remove library overdue fines for children and young adults from 1 July.
  • Replace dog impounding fees ranging from $22 for up to three days to $42.50 for up to seven days with a flat fee of $7.50 per day.

Mayor John Carter said the council was acutely aware of the impact the drought and Covid-19 had on businesses and households in the Far North.

"We have tried to minimise rate increases, but have also sought to ensure that we fund essential services which support economic growth and create jobs. This is in addition to rates relief measures we announced in April and financial support central government is making available."

Carter thanked the 37 organisations and individuals who made submissions to proposals the council sought feedback on in March-April.

"We have taken on board the feedback people provided and will consider other issues submitters raised when we review our Long Term Plan in 2021."

The rates increase and proposals are subject to confirmation when the mayor and councillors adopt the Annual Plan 2020/21 on 30 June.

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