South Taranaki District Council has confirmed a zero rates increase for the 2020-21 financial year.
The decision was made at the adoption of the council's annual plan at a meeting on Monday, June 29.
South Taranaki Mayor Phil Nixon said because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the council's focus for the next year will be on ways it can support the community through the recovery.
This will include undertaking activities to stimulate economic growth using, where possible, local businesses and contractors.
"This annual plan includes a range of measures aimed at bringing relief to residents and businesses, some of which can be actioned immediately while others are more long term and will require additional planning before being implemented," Nixon said.
The council's 2018-2028 Long Term Plan projected rates would increase by 3.36 per cent in 2020-21 but, given the financial burden of Covid-19, the council agreed to a zero rates rise.
The council will also put a freeze on fees and charges and is offering payment plans and remission of rate penalties for those experiencing financial hardship.
Nixon said the council was able to achieve the zero rates increase due to "prudent and effective financial management of the organisation by staff and elected members over the years".
"This council is in a sound financial position and we are able to take an additional one-off $722,500 contribution from our Long Term Investment Fund to achieve this result.
"There will be no changes in levels of service, and we will continue to meet our current and future infrastructure needs without compromising future plans or our overall financial position."
It was disappointing the council had not been able to support some worthy community funding, Nixon said, but it was not achievable with a zero per cent rate increase.
The council will continue to focus on revitalising the Hāwera central business district, primarily through the development of Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga – the new library culture and arts centre.
It will also work on town centre strategies for Eltham, Manaia, Ōpunakē, Pātea and Waverley, and further improvements to roading, stormwater, water and wastewater infrastructure including a new reservoir for the Waimate-West water supply, Nixon said.
"We will look to work closely with businesses, iwi and other partners to develop further measures that will support the ongoing welfare of our district."