Invercargill City Council wants to hear the community’s views as its Annual Plan sees an adjustment from the Long-term Plan due to changes in the economic environment and new project work including City Streets Stage 2 and the Museum project.
Consultation is now open on the Draft Annual Plan 2022/23, which outlines what Invercargill City Council plans to spend on projects and day-to-day services over the coming financial year and how that work will be financed.
As part of the consultation, the community is also being asked their views on three options identified for the future of the museum.
The Plan proposes an average rates increase across all ratepayers of 7.78 per cent, which is 3.78% higher than the 4% forecast in the Council’s 2021–31 Long Term Plan.
Councillor Darren Ludlow, Performance, Policy and Partnerships Committee Chair, said Council, like everyone, was experiencing the impact of the current economic uncertainty.
“Council works hard to balance the things it wants for our city and the things we need for our community,” Mr Ludlow said.
“It is unfortunate that our Councillors must consider this increase to our city’s rates to ensure we can achieve everything that we’ve set out to do to achieve our vision of a City with Heart.”
The significant portion of the additional rates increase is a result of City Streets Stage 2 (1.3%) and the preferred Museum option (0.61%), he said.
In 2021/2022 the average residential ratepayer pays $2475 in rates. With the additional changes proposed the average residential ratepayer’s rates are expected to increase to $2668. This is a total average increase of $193 per year, or $3.71 a week, which is $94 a year higher than what was planned.
The impact of these changes on Council’s net debt position is that net debt will increase to a high of $192 million in 2026/27.
Council is requesting feedback on the Annual Plan contents, and different options for the museum, including reopening the existing pyramid or building a new facility.
Two size and scale options, both larger than the current facility and both requiring an off-site, standalone storage building to house the region’s heritage collection have been presented.
Both new build options would require additional funding of between $13 million and $23 million.
The community is invited to give feedback during the consultation period, which starts Thursday 24 March and closes on Friday 29 April.
“We really do want to know what the community thinks about our plan,” Mr Ludlow said.
“Let us know what you like, what you don’t like, what you think we could be doing instead. We really do need your feedback and input.”
For more information, to view supporting information and documents, share your ideas or make a submission, please visit letstalk.icc.govt.nz.