Council adopts their 2022-23 Annual Plan

At their Regional Council meeting today, Horizons Regional Councillors adopted their 2022-23 Annual Plan.

The Plan sets out some small changes made to Council’s key activities, priority work programmes for the year, and the required budget to achieve Council’s community outcomes.

Horizons chair Rachel Keedwell says the Annual Plan process is Council’s opportunity to check in on what was indicated for each of the individual years within the 2021-31 Long-term Plan (LTP) and to make sure that the most up-to-date information and budgets are applied.

“Council chose not to consult on the 2022-23 Annual Plan as there is no significant deviation from the activities outlined in Year 2 of the LTP. However, we have made some slight budget adjustments for the financial year ahead,” says Cr Keedwell. 

“These include an additional $250,000 towards insurance costs, particularly for our flood protection assets that have an asset value of $800 million, and a $240,000 increase to allow for inflation adjustments for passenger transport service costs, noting that 51 per cent of this is funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

“We have also added a further $375,000 to help progress the weed harvesting on Lake Horowhenua as part of our water quality interventions within the Waiopehu Freshwater Management Unit.

“Based on the work programmes planned for the year, an additional $4.1 million in rates revenue is what’s required for Council to continue to do its core business. This equates to an 8.1 per cent total rate increase across the region, which differs slightly to the total rate increase of 8.22 per cent that was planned in the LTP.

“It is important for people to keep in mind that this rate impact will differ from district to district due to factors such as changes to property values and specific rating inputs such as river schemes, biodiversity, and passenger transport. For example, Palmerston North properties were revalued in 2021, which will potentially result in a higher rate increase for properties in this district.

“Council are aware that any rate increase is not ideal and have worked hard to ensure any total rates increase did not exceed what was already forecasted.

“This has been achieved by refining some of our activities, particularly in our infrastructure climate resilience projects that will provide flood protection upgrades in Foxton, Rangitīkei, Palmerston North, and the Lower Manawatū. This resetting has been done to ensure we take advantage of funding received from central government while accommodating for current resourcing capacity in this area.

“All other Council activities remain as planned for the next 12 months and are based around our vision Tō tātou rohe – taiao ora, tangata ora, mauri ora - Our place – a healthy environment where people are thriving.

“This year our priority areas continue to be freshwater, climate change, biodiversity, and making our data and information accessible to our communities. Much of this work includes progressing the implementation of the National Policy Statement and National Environmental Standards for Freshwater; dedicated work programmes around our biodiversity icon projects, funding community biodiversity projects, and working alongside landowners to care for biodiversity; and implementing Horizons’ Climate Action Plan, and advancing the regional Joint Climate Action Plan alongside our iwi and territorial local authority partners.”

The final Annual Plan, with the details of Council’s key work programmes for the year, will be made publicly available on Horizons' website and at Council service centres within the next few weeks. In the meantime, anyone wanting to check what their next rates invoice will look like can use our rates search tool.