Council flags small rate increase

Grant District Council ratepayers will have their minimum rates increased by 2.95%, after councillors voted in favour of adopting the council’s 2021-22 annual business plan. Councillor Bruce Bain moved the annual business plan be adopted for council’s 2021-22 budget, which was seconded by Cr Barry Kuhl.

The adoption of the annual business plan means minimum rates will increase to $628 in 2021-22 for Grant District Council landowners, up from $610 for the previous year, catching up with inflation. In addition, a previously considered introduction of a differential rate by land use, where rates would be set depending on the category of property, has passed.

It comes after community consultation on the draft annual business plan was conducted last month by council to ensure it provides “best value” and meets community expectations. According to UHY Haines Norton Chartered Accounting, which advised council on changes to its rating methodology, only a handful of responses to the draft were received from the community.

The consultation process, lasting from May 6-31, resulted in three people viewing or downloading the rate review report and nine people viewing or downloading the rates comparison report. In addition, two people viewed or downloaded the rating review feedback form, while one person viewed or downloaded the rates FAQ form.

UHY Haines reported that one person responded to the survey and to the question, “to what extent do you support DCG proposed new rating structure?”, answering they were “somewhat supportive”. There were no attendees at a public meeting on May 31, where the community was given a chance to provide feedback.

As well as being presented with the annual business plan for the year, councillors last week voted in favour of a review of council’s fees and charges for 2021-22. Among the charges to change in the coming financial year are an increase to dog registration fees to the new level of $36.00 (+$1) for a ‘standard’ dog and $72.00 (+$2) for a ‘nonstandard’ dog.

In addition, statutory changes to charges will see applications for Freedom of Information documentation increase from $37.50 in 2020/21 to $38.25 in the coming year, among others. The review of fees and charges was moved by Cr Megan Dukalskis and seconded by Cr Brad Mann.

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