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Grants under spotlight

South Wairarapa ratepayers have been asked whether to keep or remove the community and youth grants budget of $170,000 for the coming financial year.

It is one of four items up for consultation for the 2023-24 Annual Plan.

The current budget includes $170,000 for community and youth grants, which is at the same level as 2022-23.

In the past financial year, 55 community groups and activities were funded by South Wairarapa District Council grants, including multi-year funding agreements that help organisations to provide services in the district.

Organisations such as the Wellington Free Ambulance, the Wairarapa Whanau Trust, Cobblestones, and Aratoi Regional Trust, received significant funding.

Many other community groups also benefited from these grants including Digital Seniors, foodbanks, Featherston Booktown young readers programme, sports and recreation activities, schools and early childhood education programmes, and events – including the Wairarapa Balloon Festival.

By providing community groups and organisations with direct financial assistance, the council can support shared objectives, be a catalyst for positive change, deliver value for money to ratepayers, and help to sustain a thriving and independent community sector, according to the Annual Plan consultation document.

The first option is to keep the grants in the budget and the second option is to stop providing grants this year.

Removing the grants budget would result in a weekly rates reduction of about $0.57 – a yearly savings of about $30.

The three community boards and the Maori Standing Committee would maintain their small grants programme but without the council’s grants, additional pressure would be put on this funding.

Public consultation on the council’s Annual Plan closes on May 27 and public hearings are scheduled for June 8 and 9.

Council will deliberate on the submissions on June 14 and the Annual Plan is set to be adopted on June 28. – NZLDR

    Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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