Back in March - what seems like a whole life time ago - Horizons was getting ready to adopt its 2020-21 Annual Plan for community consultation.

However, due to the Covid-19 alert level 4 response in late March, this process was suspended.

This annual plan process sets the regional council budget for the next financial year, and determines what your rates will pay for.

The initial plan proposed an average rate increase of 5.95 per cent but it quickly became apparent, as Covid-19 closed in on our way of living, that what we had planned for was not going to match the reality of a post-Covid world.

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We have since revised the proposed 2020-21 Annual Plan, taking into consideration potential post-pandemic social and economic impacts to the Manawatū-Whanganui Region.

Council has agreed on a proposed average rate increase of one per cent and you can let us know if you think we have got this right.

Our focus remains on biodiversity, improving water quality, responding to a changing climate, promoting sustainable land management practices, and creating employment opportunities that enhance social and economic wellbeing.

Our current level of services will remain in place, with only slight changes to the way we fund or deliver them.

Due to the changed timeframes caused by the pandemic, we don't have time to do the full consultation that we would usually do before finalising the plan.

However, you do have a chance to tell us what you think about our proposed plan.

We are seeking feedback from our communities via social media, email, or through our call centre until 17 May.

This feedback will help us ascertain if what we are proposing reflects public sentiment.

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A short summary of the proposed plan is available on our website and Facebook page.

What our council delivers has a direct effect on the way you live, work and play in the Horizons Region, so please let us know your thoughts by hopping onto our Facebook page or website, calling us on 0508 800 800, or emailing haveyoursay@horizons.govt.nz