Today Waikato Regional Council (WRC) took extraordinary action to provide short-term financial support to Thames Coromandel, Hauraki, and other Waikato ratepayers facing tough economic conditions due to Covid 19 – effectively reducing net rates rises to zero.
A decrease in rates revenue from current ratepayers of 0.1 per cent compared to the 2019/20 financial year has been confirmed.
30 per cent of Thames Coromandel residents are over 65 and most of those are on fixed low incomes.
I am particularly pleased that in addition to the zero rate increase WRC has accepted my recommendation that significant funds be set aside for targeted rate relief for ratepayers facing genuine financial hardship. $400,000 has been earmarked for hardship rates relief, so I encourage anyone struggling to pay their rates to contact WRC and seek assistance.
Most of the budget savings are through efficiencies in planned spending, rather than cuts to levels of service. This will ensure that jobs are retained that we need to help the region recover.
Significant cost savings have been created by a cap on staff increases and a staff pay.
A surplus of $789,000 set aside from last financial year and some additional medium-term borrowing at historically low interest rates has also assisted.
The rates position proposed is based on a net zero increase in rates revenue payable by current ratepayers. It may not equate to a zero rates increase for all ratepayers because of variable factors for individual properties.
Denis Tegg — Thames Coromandel representative on Waikato Regional Council