Nelson City Council says it is conscious of the impact rates have on a local economy impacted by Covid-19. Photo: File.

Annual plan out for consultation

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A proposed average rate increase of 3.7 per cent will be the hot topic amongst Nelson ratepayers in this year’s annual plan consultation.

Nelson City Council’s draft annual plan for 2020/21 was released last week as the city grapples with the challenge of Covid-19.

The rate rise is 0.6 per cent higher than set out in long term plan with council saying it is to ensure they are funded to carry out necessary work and deliver the services that the Nelson community needs.

However, mayor Rachel Reese says she is committed to looking for savings before the annual plan is finalised at the end of June.

“The proposed rates rise, is just that – a proposal. We know that people are already being financially impacted by Covid-19, and we are working through options as quickly as we can for people who may find themselves in financial hardship.”

Other key changes in the plan include bringing forward work on stormwater and wastewater systems and there will be a focus on creating a sustainable transport culture.

Ticketless parking machines, the introduction of electronic ticketing on buses and new shared pathways are all expected to be completed this year.

Housing affordability is also addressed, with council proposing that the entire proceeds of a sale of community housing to a third-party social housing provider go towards a housing reserve.

Several new developments for the Maitai River precinct are also in the pipeline, including the pop-up playground by the Elma Turner Library.

A trial for a kerbside food waste collection is also being planned for this year, which will last for 12 months and be available to 220 households.

Rachel says with most of the work for the plan done before Covid-19 was a factor, they are now asking the community for their views in very different circumstances.

“I am working closely with the chief executive and chief financial officer to deliver the most cost-effective options possible to provide the services needed to continue to live well in our city.”

The plan is out for public consultation until 17 April. To see the full consultation document and make a submission go to nelson.govt.nz/annual-plan