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Budget Cuts Minimise Regional Council Rates Increase, Plus Recovery Charge Proposed

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is proposing an average rates increase of six percent for 2023-24, substantially down from the 14.5 percent forecast increase in their Long Term Plan 2021-2031. 

In addition to the rates increase, the Regional Council is proposing a $75 regional recovery charge to help cover unplanned costs of Cyclone Gabrielle.

These proposed charges are part of the Regional Council’s draft Annual Plan 2023-2024 and while an average rate increase of 6% is proposed, actual rate increases vary from property to property. 

The regional recovery charge will help pay for response and recovery costs that we don’t expect to be covered by other sources.

Regional Council Chair Hinewai Ormsby says the Council is acutely aware of the cost-of-living pressures people are facing and the impact of the cyclone on the community.

“We wanted to strike a balance between keeping rates increases contained where we could, and then resourcing for unplanned cyclone work. To reduce the rates increase, we had to make some tough decisions about our previously planned work for the upcoming year.”

Rates invoices will be issued in August 2023 and support will be available for those in financial hardship. The Regional Council will increase the rates team’s capacity to ensure it can respond in a timely manner to all enquires.

The Regional Council’s focus for 2023-2024 is on reinstating the region’s flood infrastructure and to support the region’s recovery as best as possible. Previously planned work has been reprioritised, scaled back, or deferred to keep the focus on recovery and at the same time reduce the previously planned rate increase. 

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The Regional Council is making an important contribution to the locally-led, regionally-coordinated, Government-supported recovery. A focus for the coming year is the continuing development of an Environmental Resilience Plan for Hawke’s Bay. 

The implementation of this work will rely on Central Government funding and include conversations and consultation with Hawke’s Bay residents.

Central Government, with the support of other councils and the Matariki Governance Group, requested that the Regional Council takes responsibility for managing the incoming funding and administer it on behalf of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Recovery Agency, as currently it is not a legal entity. 

The Regional Council is inviting feedback on its draft Annual Plan 2023-2024 as well as looking to understand what is most important to people in the region’s recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle.

The paper and engagement document are to be adopted at the Council meeting on Wednesday 14 June, and the draft Annual Plan 2023-2024 engagement and feedback with the community will begin from Friday 16 June to Sunday 2 July.

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