Community feedback has led to further changes to Christchurch City Council’s post-COVID-19 budget.
The changes, outlined in a report that will be considered by elected members at a budget setting meeting on Thursday, include:
- Dropping a proposal to save more than $3 million by increasing the use of weedkillers containing glyphosate.
- Providing a one-off $500,000 boost to the Strengthening Communities Fund to help support community organisations affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
- Making a further $4.5 million available to enable more road sealing work to be done over the next 12 months to help address residents’ concerns about the condition of some of the city’s roads.
“More than 1000 groups and individuals made submissions on our revised 2020-21 Draft Annual Plan and after considering the feedback, the Mayor will be presenting recommendations for further budget changes,’’ says Council Chief Executive Dawn Baxendale.
“The changes reflect the priorities of our communities that were expressed both in the submissions that we received when we consulted on our original 2020-21 Draft Annual Plan and in the submissions that we received on the Updated Draft Annual Plan.’’
The Council released its original Draft Annual Plan for consultation in late February. Following the COVID-19 lockdown, it issued an Updated Draft Annual Plan that took into account the significant impact the COVID-19 crisis had on the Council’s finances and the changed social and economic conditions.
The Updated Draft Annual Plan included provision for an average residential rate rise of 1.77 per cent and an overall average rate increase of 3.5 per cent. A rate increase of that level translates to an extra 95 cents a week for the owner of an average-valued house ($508,608) or an extra $49.25 a year.
Mrs Baxendale says despite the further changes that are being recommended, the proposed rate increase remains the same.
“Growth in the rating base and higher than expected dividends from Transwaste have allowed us to off-set some of the impacts of the changes that have been included as a result of the feedback from the community.’’
The Mayor will be recommending that:
- The Council proceed with a proposal to charge an excess water use targeted rate for households that use significantly more water than the average household. Feedback from submitters showed the majority favoured such a move.
- The Council continue to provide rates relief to residents and businesses experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
- A Residents’ Forum is set up so the Council can engage more actively with the community on issues of city-wide importance, including the Long Term Plan.
Thursday’s budget meeting will be held in the Council Chamber, beginning at 9.30am. The public are welcome to attend. The meeting will also be live-streamed.