The Taranaki Regional Council will keep its general rate unchanged for the 2020/2021 financial year, trimming an earlier draft budget that was based on a 3.8 per cent increase.
Council chairman David MacLeod says with the disruption caused by Covid-19, the council has trimmed and tuned its spending programmes while keeping impacts to a minimum.
"Overall, we're taking a 'business as planned' approach based on the public consultation and decision-making that went into the 2018/2028 Long-Term Plan and the 2019/2020 Annual Plan."
He says two vital ingredients in Taranaki's recovery from Covid-19 disruption will be the resilience and community-mindedness of the region's people, and the advantages offered by the environment and natural resources.
"Care for the environment and sustainable use of natural resources have been consistent and enduring themes of the council's major programmes."
These include the Riparian Management Programme.
"Despite Covid-19, record numbers of plants are going out for planting this year, paid for by farmers under this unique partnership with the council."
He says the council are expecting a similar result next year.
"This programme is bringing independently verified improvements to freshwater quality, and the council's focus is already transitioning from implementation to maintenance, monitoring and compliance."
He says good results are also evident already in Towards Predator-Free Taranaki.
"The programme is still in its early days but the council's own biodiversity monitoring, as well as community anecdotes aplenty, suggest it's already giving Taranaki healthier ecosystems where indigenous plants and wildlife can thrive and grow in numbers. The programme will continue to roll out stage by stage into new areas in the coming months and years."
David says council's multi-year upgrades at Pukeiti are important to Taranaki's recovery.
"The programme has resulted in new visitor facilities, more recreational options, better infrastructure and increased capacity for research and participation in plant conservation programmes.
"With domestic tourism set to take on much greater importance, the council will continue with its upgrades as planned."
This will be the second year in a row with no change to the council's general rate.
There are minor and largely immaterial changes to targeted rates for transport and river and flood control.
The Yarrow Stadium targeted rates continue unchanged, noting that existing loans and commitments still need funding, as will any future options. The works programme remains on hold pending a careful review of proposals taking into account changing circumstances.
"The council remains focused on supporting livelihoods, improving lifestyles and taking Taranaki forward," he says.
"These will be priorities for the entire region as we lift our heads and move forwards in the coming months and years."