Whanganui District Council is proposing an average rates increase of 2.3 per cent for the coming financial year.

That's down from the 3.9 per cent projected in the council's long-term plan, with the reduction a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The proposed rates increase is part of the council's 2020-2021 annual plan, which makes adjustments to the long-term plan.

"We will reduce our loan repayments for 2020/21 and will continue to seek potential savings prior to adopting the final budget in June," mayor Hamish McDouall said.

Rates for each individual property will vary, "particularly in a revaluation year where some larger changes will occur due to relative valuation adjustments", McDouall said.

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Ratepayers may have a lower rates increase than planned as the council responds to Covid-19. Photo / Bevan Conley
Ratepayers may have a lower rates increase than planned as the council responds to Covid-19. Photo / Bevan Conley

The annual plan includes additional funding of $144,000 for the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre.

"Due to global market saturation and constraints the cost of recycling fibre is no longer sustainable," McDouall said.

"We will continue to investigate viable options for the future."

Other changes include $140,000 towards the development and implementation of the council's climate change strategy, reducing the uniform annual general charge from $831 to $700, and $200,000 to support the delivery of the housing strategy.

McDouall said the council was also "examining other opportunities" to support the local community, including reducing the late rates payments from 10 per cent to 5 per cent, and reviewing its rates remission and postponement policy.

"As we are in this lockdown situation it's difficult to assess exactly what the impacts on our community and our economy will be.

"We are conscious that the council is a key part of any economic recovery and we want to respond to the needs of our community."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

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The annual plan is open for public submissions until 4pm on Friday, May 15.

For a submission form and to view the consultation document and supporting information, visit www.whanganui.govt.nz/annualplan

You can have your say on the proposed changes by completing a submission form online, or by emailing your submission to annualplan2020@whanganui.govt.nz

Paper forms are not available due to the current need to maintain social distancing. If you are unable to make a submission online, you can call 06 349 0001 and ask to make your submission over the phone.