22 April 2020
Masterton District Council has dropped a range of fees and charges and extended timeframes as immediate measures to support the community during the COVID-19 response.
Immediate measures put in place include:
- Removing rates penalties for the May and August rates instalments
- Free parking until at least 30 June
- Extended time for parking infringement repayments
- Paying suppliers weekly rather than fortnightly
- Suspending library charges, removing fines, extending loans beyond lockdown
- Extending time for people to act on building consents by six months (consents usually lapse after 12 months)
Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said the immediate measures were just the start.
“We’re committed to seeing Masterton get through the COVID-19 pandemic and emerge in the best possible shape.
“To recover effectively we all need to work together and focus on ensuring the decisions we make, and initiatives we put forward, provide the most value.
“We have three key indicators we are using to help determine where we should focus our efforts; we need to be targeted in our approach, ensure these decisions have ongoing positive impacts and are not just a deferral of spending.”
Mayor Patterson said there was understandably a lot of discussion about curtailing spending and removing rates increases.
“The Council is in a unique position in that we are one of the few entities with the ability to help stimulate Masterton’s recovery post-COVID-19.
“Cutting our spending on key projects, especially those that involve construction, would only put more jobs at risk. We need to help rejuvenate our local economy and progressing infrastructure projects is a key part of this.
“While we’re reviewing our rates increases, we also need to ensure that we don’t end up just lumping a larger increase onto the following financial year.”
However, Mayor Patterson said it didn’t mean that all projects and planned spending would continue.
“Councillors and Council staff are taking a fine-tooth comb to our planned activities and looking at areas where we can save money and come up with ways to support Masterton’s recovery.
“We don’t want to rush this process because we want to ensure we get it right. Our efforts need to be focused on the right type of support, in the right places.”