Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan says on the Annual Plan 20-21:“Your council understands the financial challenges that coronavirus will bring to households across our district. I want to assure you that your council is working hard to find ways to significantly reduce the proposed rates increases while maintaining crucial services and providing civil defence functions through these hard times.
“Please keep in mind that there are a range of essential services that a council must continue to deliver, like safe drinking water, sewerage and rubbish collection. Some of those services have increased costs that we cannot control. We also have to balance the need to recognise the economic impacts of the lockdown on ratepayers while recognising the crucial role council projects may play in the economic recovery.
“We don’t have the answer yet, but I want to assure you that we will be delivering a proposed annual plan that will be markedly different to the one currently out for consultation. Our goal is to ensure the lowest possible impact on you, the ratepayer, during a time of financial hardship.
“That said, it is vitally important that you still submit on our draft annual plan. We especially need your input on whether council should join the Local Government Funding Agency. We were asking for your thoughts on this before the coronavirus hit with a view to spreading the cost over time for our big infrastructure projects but it is even more important now as we will be considering using debt where possible to ease the rates costs through these hard times. We are required to consult with you before we can do that, so please ensure you submit.”