Draft Annual Plan 2023/24 open for feedback
This week Council adopted the draft Annual Plan 2023/24 for public feedback.
You're invited to have a say on the Plan before 28 May 2023, and can do so by completing an online survey here.
While there are no significant changes to the Annual Plan as set out for year 3 of the Long Term Plan 2021-31, SDC has needed to adjust areas of expenditure and revenue in order to keep rates as low as feasible in today’s economic climate.
The two main changes to the Plan being increases and new fees added to the Fees and Charges Schedule, and a proposed increase to the Forestry Differential Roading Rate.
District Mayor Neil Volzke says Council has worked hard to reduce the rates increase to 8.91%, after starting with a rise of 16.5% earlier in the year. “We’ve spent a long time closely inspecting budget lines and user fees with Council staff to see where savings can be made and additional revenue gained.”
“We’re very aware of the cost-of-living burden on our community. Much like the increases we all see at the supermarket checkout, Council is seeing this inflation pressure in our day-to-day service delivery as well,” he says. “Unfortunately a significant portion of this is out of our control. It’s our role to make changes where possible without sacrificing the work needed to create a district that people want to live, work, play and invest in.”
“We’re now asking the community to review the changes we’ve made. I encourage everyone to jump online and complete the short survey,” says Mayor Volzke.
Summary of changes to the draft Annual Plan 2023/24:
Fees & Charges Schedule
We've reviewed several areas of our fees and charges, to best reflect the current cost of delivering these services. Key areas with change include:
- Dog registrations and licensing
- Building control services
- Health licenses
- Wai o Rua - Stratford Aquatic Centre
Forestry Differential Roading Rate
In 2022 Council adopted a new roading targeted rate differential which meant that a fixed portion ($100,000) of the total roading rate requirement was collected from ratepayers who own property primarily used for the purpose of forestry, excluding indigenous or protected forestry uses.
For the 2023/24 rating year, Council is proposing to increase the fixed portion to $250,000 per annum.
The suggested increase is because of the growing costs associated with fixing rural roads damaged by the forestry industry. This year SDC has had to reallocate a significant amount of the roading budget to remediation of rural roads damaged by forestry harvesting. For the year to date, approximately $975,225 has been spent directly on reinstating roads due to forestry damage, which is part funded by Waka Kotahi. There may still be further costs incurred for the year to 30 June 2023.
Reallocating a higher amount of the roading targeted rate to be collected from forestry properties is considered to be a fairer approach for all Stratford district ratepayers.
Have your say:
Feedback on the draft Annual Plan 2023/24 closes on Sunday 28 May 2023.
Click here for details and to complete the feedback survey.
Feedback will be considered by Council in June prior to adopting the final Annual Plan 2023/24 before 30 June 2023.