Councillors have adopted a budget which focuses on keeping rates increases down for Christchurch residents in a tough economic environment, all while delivering the basics they’ve come to expect.
Christchurch City Council’s Draft Annual Plan 2023/24 will now go out for public feedback. It proposes what the Council will spend on projects and day-to-day services over the next financial year and how these will be financed, and councillors will weigh up the public’s response before they approve the final budget in June.
Mayor Phil Mauger says the newly elected Council has pulled out all the stops to deliver a realistic budget at a time when the rising cost of living is putting real pressure on so many households.
“New Zealand and the world are heading into some choppy waters with inflation, interest rates and insurance all on the up. I think the draft budget we’ve come up with goes some way to take a bit of the pressure off people’s cost of living while still providing the services our community want us to.”
The proposed average rates increase across all ratepayers is 5.68%, and 5.79% for the average household.
“We’ve kept the proposed increase below the 7% rate of inflation that we’re seeing around the country, and well below the initial 14.6% increase it was looking like we’d be facing when we were briefed late last year. I am very proud of the work Council staff and councillors have done to get us here today,” Mayor Mauger says.
“It has involved a lot of smart thinking and approaching our capital programme in such a way that we only charge rates to cover the projects that we can realistically deliver in the coming year.”
Changes to the Draft Annual Plan 2023/24 agreed today include the following:
Rates increases will also be affected by the 2022 rates revaluation, which saw residential properties rise in value significantly more than business properties. This type of change doesn't affect the Council's overall rates revenue, but it does affect how it's shared out between property owners.
Because the value of residential properties has risen further than the value of business properties, the Draft Annual Plan also proposes a change to the business differential it charges business ratepayers, to ensure business and residential ratepayers pay the same proportion of overall rates as in previous years.
Consultation opens on the Draft Annual Plan 2023/24 on Friday 10 March.
“A vital part of our commitment to keeping rates as low as possible is listening to what the community has to say – it is your money and we need you give us a steer on how we go forward. This will help us to refine and agree to the final Annual Plan for 2023/24 by the end of June,” Mayor Mauger says.