Last week’s Tauranga City Council 2020/21 annual plan deliberations showed just how much can be achieved when everyone is working together for a common purpose – in this case to settle on a budget which will allow the city to progress, while addressing the many challenges presented by our post-pandemic economy.

Amongst the key decisions agreed upon following the annual plan community consultation process are.

There will be free on-street parking in the CBD for up to two hours (through until November), to encourage more people to come to the city centre to support our struggling retail sector.

Increased funding has been allowed for a range of community groups, including Awhina House, the Kāinga Tupu homelessness strategy, the Tauranga Community Housing Trust, Envirohub, Tauranga Community Foodbank, and the Incubator Creative Hub.

There is increased investment in sustainability and economic development.

Maintaining our investment in our economy through essential infrastructure projects ensures that we can support the recovery of the business sector and provide jobs and flow-on benefits for the wider community.

The council is making further savings in operating costs (a total of $2.2 million, on top of the $11 million saving already built into the draft annual plan) to keep the rates budget increase down to the 4.7 per cent proposed in the draft budget.

So what does that mean for most ratepayers? The good news is that due to changes in the ways rates are calculated, more than 30 per cent of residential ratepayers will have a rates decrease, while the median residential property owner will see a rates increase of 1.1 per cent (equivalent to around 47 cents a week). Median commercial property owners will see an increase of 10.8 per cent, or around $9.04 a week.

After listening to the community, your elected representatives have made some tough decisions, and I think we have found a balance which recognises the hardships people are facing, while keeping the city moving forward.

#Kotahitanga  #taurangatogether

Five Minutes with the Mayor
A monthly column
by Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell