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Annual Plan challenges for Central Hawke’s Bay

The annual budget and rates strike for 2022/23 for Central Hawke’s Bay District Council are on-track with what was adopted in the weighty Long Term Plan in 2021, with an additional $1.6 million in rates required for the coming year.

 Finance and Instructure Committee Chair, Brent Muggeridge, says that Councillors spent time before Christmas intensively reviewing the plan for the coming year, the required capital and renewal investments and the proposed rates impact. “Original estimates were for the cost of delivery to increase closer to 7.5% above the current year, but this was unacceptable to us as we knew our ratepayers had already made significant commitments during the Long Term Planning process. We managed to get this back to 6.8%, which exactly matches what was in the original 2021 – 2031 Long Term Plan.”
 
Following the tough conversations in Central Hawke’s Bay about “Facing the Facts” in 2021, Council adopted its most significant capital works programme in many years to address significant districtwide underinvestment. The proposed increase for the 2022/2023 year is consistent with year 2 of this Long-Term Plan and seeks to rate a further $1.6 million across the entire district.
 
“We have had to take a deliberate approach to investment in infrastructure” says Mayor Alex Walker. “And the impact of this on rates, will continue unless a new way of providing funding support to small districts like ours, can be implemented. We know that reform of things like Three-Waters infrastructure and services is daunting, but in reality we need a large step-change to bring new funding tools into our toolkit.”
 
With the district’s updated property values from Quotable Value (QV) delayed due to the impacts of the Auckland COVID-19 lockdown, the district can expect significant increases in values across the district when values are released in late March. Delays in the timing of the release of the new property values will now make understanding and assessing the impact of the new property values on the allocation of rates for the 2022 – 23 years difficult, within the Councils legislative timeframes to strike rates by 30 June 2022.
 
“It’s awesome that the value of Central Hawke’s Bay that we’ve all known about for some time has been recognised,” says Mayor Alex Walker. “The lateness however of new property values, will make our ability to understand what this means for individual households particularly challenging.”
 
Councillor Muggeridge describes the challenge, “The changing property values mean that while we know we need to collect an additional $1.6 million in rates, we don’t know how that will be split up amongst different types and locations of households and businesses. It is frustrating that due to the delays from QV there will be no time in the system for us to consider any significant restructure of budgets or rates mechanisms to deal with any impact created by the revaluations.”
 
New Property Valuations are expected to be released to property owners on 19 March. Property owners will then have a set time to respond to Quotable Value (QV) if they disagree with their rating valuation. The new valuations will then take effect from 1 July 2022.
 
More information on the new property values and Councils Annual Plan 2022 – 2023 will be available on Councils website www.chbdc.govt.nz.