Council has agreed to:
- Review its proposed rates rise, with a view to reduce the increase
- Establish a $100,000 Community Resilience Fund
- Make an immediate donation of up to $1500 to local food banks/food based charities
- Establish an Emergency Committee to ensure continuity of governance
- Speed up payments to suppliers (payment within five days)
- Suspend all parking charges during the period New Zealand is at Alert Level 4
- Suspend library charges and fines, and extending library loan periods
Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says the Council is focused on taking urgent action to support the people of Lower Hutt through tough and challenging times.
“We know COVID-19 is having a significant social and economic impact across our community. Our people and businesses are under pressure, and there is a great deal of uncertainty about the period ahead. This is why we are doing all we can to support our community through these challenging times,” Campbell Barry says.
“As part of this, Council is reviewing our current income and expenditure, the upcoming budget to identify further areas of savings, and working to reduce the proposed rates increase. These are unprecedented times, and we simply cannot continue with business as usual.”
“Reviewing our budget and rates increase will take some time, but will make a difference for our community. In the meantime we are taking a range of actions to provide some immediate relief. This includes establishing an emergency resilience fund, suspending parking charges, and accommodating payment plans for upcoming rates bills.”
Hutt City Council Chief Executive Jo Miller says COVID-19 says council is rapidly responding to the situation, and taking action to support the community.
“As part of our response, I’ll be taking a 10% pay cut immediately,” Jo Miller says.
“Council is also working with local businesses, encouraging uptake of our digital services, and we’re boosting resourcing of our contact centre to support the community during the lockdown period.
“Already we have seen over 230 local businesses register for support, and we are seeing them share resources and expertise.”
“At the heart of all of these measures are our Council’s values – Manaakitanga (show you care), Te Hononga (be connected), and Kia Kaha (have courage),” Jo Miller says.
Hutt City Council is significantly advanced in its Annual Plan process. This is because it was required to undertake a Long Term Plan amendment – which was required to be audited in mid-February. This work has occurred, and the consultation on this is required to continue, subject to any new guidance from central government.
Compared to other Councils, Hutt City is approximately four weeks ahead in terms of budget decisions. This means that while consultation on the proposed budget (including a 7.9% rates increase) will continue, at the same time Council officers will undertake work to present a revised budget to Council in May/June 2020.