With some Hawke's Bay ratepayers likely to pay more than $60 extra next year thanks to an average 19 per cent rate rise, concern is spreading for those on fixed incomes.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council's Long Term Plan 2018-2028, called "Facing our Future", proposes an average 19 per cent rate rise in the next financial year. Rises over the remaining nine years would be limited to about 3.76 per cent.
The "ambitious" plan urges ratepayers that while focusing on environmental priorities will cost, not taking action will cost "even more".
Those spoken to by Hawke's Bay Today said the environment needed to be a focus, but the big rise was expected to be tough for those with a fixed income.
The highest percentage rate increase will be felt by Central Hawke's Bay, where rates will rise 22.31 per cent, and Napier South, with a 21.58 per cent increase.
The additional cost next year ranges from between $15.75 for Flaxmere ratepayers, to an additional $63.70 for Taradale ratepayers, as indicated by sample properties across the region.
Although Flaxmere ratepayers are at the lower end, Te Aka Charitable Trust's Thompson Hokianga said this would still concern local residents.
Some would struggle to get the money together, tenants could see an increase in rent, and most would have to be "vigilant" about their expenses, the co-founder of the Flaxmere trust - a provider of Maori Development Services - said.
"Things are tough as it is with the cost of everyday living, the cost of accommodation and lack of housing. I can only imagine any increase is going to impact heavily on the likes of the Flaxmere community."
Grey Power Hastings and Districts vice-president Marie Dunningham said rate rises were always hard for Hawke's Bay's older population, and the marked increase of this one would be very difficult.
"It will be a struggle. Older people will struggle to pay but they will pay," she said. "We're a group who know how to scrimp and save, and we will moan but we will do it. We will just have go without something else, the new carpet, the fridge."
Napier Family Centre's Suzanne Stewart encouraged anyone worried about a big rise to do a regular budget.
"Any changes to a budget can be quite catastrophic for some families. Things like rates we would recommend putting a bit away each pay day in order to afford those big bills when they came in."
In response to concern, regional council chairman Rex Graham said they had been charged with confronting the environmental challenges facing the region, but needed the right resources - and budget - to do so.
"We know it's going to be painful for some people especially people on fixed incomes and we're very conscious of that," he said. "But in many cases the increase is quite small, the average is $1 per week."
The regional council will be consulting on their proposed LTP from Monday. Of the year one rate rise, 13.8 per cent goes toward environmental priorities, and 5.2 per cent for civil defence.
- For budgeting help, check out the Napier Family Centre's tool at napierfamilycentre.org.nz/budget-tool/