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Zero Increase For Council Fees And Charges

There will be no increase to fees and charges for Council services and facilities until at least July 2021.

Horowhenua District Council adopted next year’s schedule of fees and charges at its meeting on 6 May. Most fees and charges will remain unchanged in the 2020/2021 financial year, with a small number of new fees and fee reductions.

Mayor of Horowhenua Bernie Wanden said the decision would help to provide relief for members of the community who were struggling financially as a result of COVID-19.

“We understand the social and economic wellbeing of many in our community has been affected by this pandemic. Keeping fees and charges largely the same is something we can do in the short-term to help make things easier for those people,” he said.

Council’s schedule of fees and charges sets out any user charges that apply to services and facilities such as waste transfer stations and rubbish bags; community centres, halls and meeting rooms; library charges; swimming pools; animal control; parking; cemetery services; alcohol licencing; road corridor access; and fixed fee building consents.

In response to a question raised by Councillor Christine Mitchell about the impact of zero increases on Council’s ability to cover the actual costs of services and facilities, Chief Executive David Clapperton said options may include looking at levels of service or debt funding.

“These are decisions Council will need to make as part of recalibrating our Annual Plan 2020/2021, after submission hearings have been held,” he said.

New fees include: fees for some facilities and equipment, such as mobile televisions, laptops, and stages for functions and events; a small fee for casual netball and tennis bookings at sportsgrounds; hourly, full day or cost-coverage charges for technical and security staff support at community centres; and some new environmental health charges.

Some fees and charges, such as community rate hireage fees for some community halls, have been reduced to encourage uptake.

The decision excludes fees and charges for food businesses subject to the Food Act 2014 and for planning services subject to the Resource Management Act. Charges for these services require public consultation and were considered by Council at its April meeting. Council is consulting on zero increases to fees and charges in these areas, and interested parties have until 5pm Friday 8 May to have their say.

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