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7. Zero rates increase in 2020

In 2020 Council voted in favour of a zero increase to general rates ollowing COVID-19. While general rates did not increase, there was a $12 increase to rates for rubbish and recycling, and a $49.50 increase for water. These increases were to targeted rates, so will only affect ratepayers who receive those services.

Councillors reviewed over 115 submissions, and heard presentations from 12 submitters at the hearing on Wednesday 27 May 2020 before making decisions on rates and fees and charges for the next financial year (starting 1 July).

“We listened,” says Mayor Ash Tanner. “We know there are people who are struggling, and there is a lot of uncertainty in the community right now. On top of that, farmers are still battling with a significant drought. Our community has told us this, loud and clear in their submissions, and we hear you.”

The zero increase to general rates means most rural property owners saw no increase to their rates in 2020.

The increases to water and rubbish rates reflect the costs and pressures of delivering those services.

“We are dealing with tighter government regulations, and increasing costs to dispose of waste,” said Mayor Ash. “In an ideal world, we wouldn’t increase any rates, but putting off these increases now would make for a much bigger increase later on.”

“We tightened our belts across a whole range of areas – putting plans for improvements on hold, deferring projects, freezing salary budgets – doing what we can to minimise the impact on our ratepayers. But we believe the cost increases to water and rubbish are important to ensure we can continue to deliver all our services to the same standard.