Territorial authorities in Northland are putting together various measures, including reviewing planned rates increases, to ease financial pressures on ratepayers and businesses during the level 4 lockdown.
The Whangārei District Council has released its indicative 10-point economic recovery response. It includes help for those in need, support for companies that supply the council with materials and services, and carefully targeted budget and cost-cutting measures to ease the burden in the short term.
Councillors are yet to formally discuss and approve the measures.
Mayor Sheryl Mai said WDC was urgently reviewing its planned rates rise for 2020/21 before it finalised the budget and set rates for next season.
She said WDC needed to strike the right balance between providing relief and delivering essential services such as access to safe drinking water, wastewater, rubbish collection, and ongoing infrastructure maintenance.
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Mai said WDC offered support via payment plans, and advice on where to go for more financial help, to people who were struggling to pay rates, fees and charges.
"We will also continue promotion of the Government's existing Rates Rebate Scheme, which provides a subsidy to low-income homeowners on the cost of their rates. The maximum rebate is $640 with an income threshold of $25,660."
WDC was also working through community funding to ensure community groups remained supported and investigating ways to increase the frequency of supplier payment runs to help with their cashflow.
Mai said staff were assessing options to provide rent relief for commercial and community tenants and partnering with Northland Inc and NorthChamber to support the provision of on-the-ground practical support for small and medium businesses.
"We are investigating whether parts of Whangarei's capital works programme can be brought forward or increased to stimulate business and create jobs in response to potential government funding for any 'shovel-ready' projects.
Kaipara mayor Jason Smith is setting up a taskforce to focus on economic support and recovery of businesses and residents in his district.
"The scene for everyone is rapidly changing, sometimes several times a day, and the taskforce will need to work closely with many partners, be light on its feet, and have its ear to the ground in Kaipara. It will not function as a committee but instead be a dynamic arrangement that's small, agile and no-cost but high value to Kaipara people.
"There's a constant stream of valuable information crossing my desk that will be of interest across Kaipara and I also want to make certain Kaipara people are aware of and can benefit from the stimulus and support tools available to them."
Details of the taskforce's work will be announced later.
Far North mayor John Carter said council and business associations throughout his district met once a week through video conferencing to discuss the impact of Covid-19 and what and how assistance could be provided to those struggling.