In May this year, council voted to consult with the community on a 1.9 per cent increase in budgeted rate revenue, a reduction from the Long Term Plan forecast increase of 4.4 per cent.
Following that consultation, 43 submissions were received on a wide range of issues and there were also requests for funding beyond what had already been identified in the draft plan.
In considering these requests, councillors were mindful of not adding to the economic impact of COVID-19 on ratepayers and keeping to a reduced average rates revenue increase.
Requests that were able to be approved within the existing budget included funding towards traffic safety improvements in Willowpark Road, and a feasibility study for a Community Hub, as part of the Mayfair Community Plan.
There was also support for Chinese language week, for various improvements in Keirunga Gardens, for planning for future improvements in the Waimarama Domain, and an upgrade of the hot water system at Guthrie Park changing rooms.
Strategy and policy committee chairperson councillor Bayden Barber said that in order to maintain the 1.9 per cent rate increase Council either pushed funding requests back in the Long Term Plan or encouraged seeking external funding sources.
“Council made a commitment to the people of Hastings and this was top of mind when considering annual plan funding requests. We were happy we could honour this commitment.”
Being able to keep the average rates increase low when many people were struggling with the economic impact of COVID-19 was a great outcome, said Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.
“As well as budgeting for all the things we normally do like roads, water and sewage systems, and footpaths, we have been able to put money towards projects that will make very real differences to our people.
“They are projects that are important to our residents; their enjoyment of their district and their future.”