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Council Eyes Rates Freeze In Light Of COVID-19

This morning’s Planning, Finance and Community (PFC) Committee discussed a range of agenda items, including Council’s response to the threat of COVID-19.

Mayor John Leggett said: “Yesterday in a discussion with Deputy Mayor Nadine Taylor and PFC Chairman Mark Peters, and the Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer, it was agreed that we should consider freezing our rates rise this year to no higher than Local Government Cost Index level of 2.2%, rather than the 4.86% we indicated on 27 February.”

The Mayor said he expected the plan would find favour with all Councillors as Council moved through the Annual Plan process.

“We want to maintain our existing levels of service while also addressing how we can plan for the increased activities we supported in February.’

Mark Peters, Chair of the PFC Committee said it is imperative that the Council ensures as much budgeted capital project expenditure as possible is undertaken at this time, so that economic activity can be maintained to help the Marlborough economy through an unprecedented situation.

“Our highest priority will always be the health and welfare of Marlborough’s people.”

“This will also help retain cash flow through wages and maintaining jobs in Marlborough. If we spend what we plan to spend, plus what Port Marlborough and Marlborough Airport have on the drawing board between now and June 2021, it will match the Government’s $12 billion economic activity package on a per head of population. That is very significant.”

Mayor Leggett said the Council would also continue to support the Marlborough Pandemic Group meetings, which bring together all of the region’s key industries and sectors to share information regularly.

“COVID-19 has had an impact on Marlborough’s industries, with the impacts felt in tourism and rock lobster and log exports to China. The Government package announced on Tuesday will alleviate the pressure on some of our businesses who have been affected.”

“My advice to Marlburians is to follow the official health advice and look after yourself and your family. We will get through this and the Council will do its utmost to support the Marlborough economy and keep the wheels turning.”

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