Mayor John Leggett welcomed councillors’ support today for a range of measures to help Marlborough get through the COVID-19 crisis, outlined in its Annual Plan Update 2020-21, which goes out for public feedback tomorrow. The full Council met this morning via videoconference for the first time - a recording of the meeting will be posted on the Council website.
“No one could have anticipated the disruption to our community that COVID-19 has already caused. Our Council has recognised the potential impacts and as a result we are proposing that this year’s rates increase will be less than 2.2%, the local government cost index (inflation) estimate,” Mayor Leggett said.
“While it is disappointing that we won’t be able to continue with some of the new initiatives we had proposed in February, the interests of the whole Marlborough community must now take priority.”
“We can continue with our capital expenditure programme, which is focused on core infrastructure such as roads, water, sewerage and stormwater. These projects will provide a much needed boost for our economy and will help Marlborough meet the demands for growth, with only a limited impact on rates.”
“As a direct result of COVID-19 we are setting aside $1.2 million to ensure community organisations and our wonderful community facilities such as Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 can remain viable. The funds come from our Emergency Events Reserve and have no impact on rates.”
“This year’s rates increase of below 2.2% is a significant reduction on the 5.92% increase that was forecast in the 2018-28 Long Term Plan. For the average Marlborough property, 2.2% equates to about $1.10 a week, and I hope we can even reduce that figure further,” Mayor Leggett said.
“Aside from the expenditure on roads, sewerage, water treatment and water supply, the Council has earmarked funds for the new District Library and Art Gallery, new sports facilities at A&P Park and Lansdowne Park, plus waste disposal and flood protection initiatives.
“These capital projects are outlined in the Annual Plan Update available online and I encourage everyone to have a read and give us their feedback.”
Council is proposing to expand kerbside recycling to include Renwick. Due to the impacts of Covid-19, it’s proposed the recycling service would not start until July 2021. Currently Council provides this service to Blenheim and Picton residents at an annual cost of $46 per household. The inclusion of Renwick will lead to a revised annual charge of $54 per entitled property in Blenheim, Picton and Renwick.
“Council will consider submissions and make its final decisions in June. It’s important to have your say, especially at this extraordinary time in our history.”
The Annual Plan Update also includes information on proposed changes to development contributions for stormwater in Blenheim. Council proposes to include the Town Branch Drain upgrade costs associated with growth as an additional input into the Storm Water Development Contributions calculation model. It also proposes to remove the Caseys Creek upgrade works from the Northwest Extension Zone Levy and include this as a further addition to the Storm Water Development Contribution calculation model.
“Although we’re not suggesting any major new proposals this year, we’d like to hear from you about what we are planning to do.”
“Also, let us know what would you like the Council to consider as we finalise next year’s Annual Plan, later this year.”
Submissions need to be made by 4 May. Councillors will formally consider all submissions and feedback received.