We have all had to make adjustments over the last few months in response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. I am so very proud of the way our community has stepped up and supported those who have needed it. It is also great to see this support from our community extending to our local businesses and employers as they get back into action. Here at Council, we have also been impacted and have had to make some changes to what we had planned for the year ahead. Recognising that some of our community are facing tough times ahead, we have developed a recovery plan with packages to help businesses, community groups and residents to get through.
We haven’t lost sight of our priorities though, and are still committed to getting our water right.
Our water programme is a top priority, so we are going to do some of the planned work quicker and invest more so we can do more. This year we propose to spend an extra $10.9 million over and above what we had already planned to spend. At the top of the list is clean drinking water and fixing the ongoing dirty water issues that some community members have been experiencing. So we are fast-tracking the projects to address this and are aiming to have these finished by the end of this year.
Alongside this, national standards have tightened, and there are further changes ahead. We are looking into our drinking water treatment options, and are starting a chlorine-free review which will help us plan the next steps.
Several storms have highlighted the need for better ways to deal with the excess water that gets into our sewer network. We can improve how we treat this water before it goes into the sea, and lift water quality in our waterways.
Following on from the changes to our recycling services, we are introducing wheelie bins for kerbside rubbish collection from 1 October.
It can be hard to strike the right balance between paying attention to the big issues, ensuring we continue to deliver our services, and keeping it affordable for all. Prior to Covid-19, we had identified an average rates rise of 6.5% per household for 2020/21, but we have worked hard to reduce that to 4.8%. Reducing the projected rates increase and providing targeted relief will help to support those in our community who may be struggling financially due to Covid-19.
While there is still some uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been hugely impressed and heartened with how people in our community have supported each other during this time and am confident that together we will get there.
Your feedback will help us define the way forward, so please take time to make a submission, we’d really love to hear from you.
Kia Kotahi Tātau o Ahuriri nei We are TEAM NAPIER
Mayor of Napier
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