Weekly column from Kāpiti's Greater Wellington Regional Council representative.

Wellington Regional Council has now finalised our Annual Plan for the new financial year that started on July 1.

In the next financial year Ōtaki and Kāpiti Coast rural ratepayers will have a small decrease in the amount of Wellington Regional Council rates they pay, while urban Kāpiti Coast ratepayers will on average have a smaller than originally planned increase that is $19.86 a year (or 38 cents per week).

As I highlighted in my column three weeks ago when I outlined the direction of the Draft Annual Plan, after considering the impact of Covid-19 for the Wellington region, we made the decision that our previously intended 2020/21 regional rates increase should be reduced from the long term plan, which had been proposed at an average of 6.3 per cent.

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The cuts to the increase mean the average across the Wellington region will be 3 per cent.

The average increase across the rest of the Kāpiti Coast are around that regional average as a percentage, but lower in terms of actual dollar figures.

Two years ago Wellington Regional Council changed how we calculate the Ōtaki funding formula to arrive at a special rate.

The Public Transport differential rate applied to Ōtaki residential is now lower than the Kāpiti Coast residential.

It aligns with the similarly lower differential rate used for Wairarapa residential properties.

Our reasoning for Ōtaki's lower special rate is that the public transport services to Ōtaki are currently lower than other residential properties on the Kāpiti Coast.

So that lower rate is fair enough, because we don't have the same level of public transport services as the rest of the Kāpiti Coast - yet!

GWRC's overall savings have been achieved through a mixture of savings, using some reserves, and borrowing, so Greater Wellington can continue to invest in key work programmes such as flood defences, environmental work, implementing changes from the bus network review, and improving public transport services.

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