With the COVID-19 shutdown making life very hard for local businesses, Nelson City Council is easing the burden and trying to help keep our region’s economy running.
Many local businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector lease property from Council. These sectors have been hit particularly hard by the shutdown, and with that in mind Council is now offering these tenants a three month rent holiday. Those with community leases will also benefit automatically from the rent holiday.
This will apply to more than 200 businesses and community organisations in Nelson. To be clear, the three months of rent are being waived, and there will be no expectation of repayment.
Tenants in other sectors can tell the Council if they are suffering financial hardship and are seeking rent relief.
Any Council tenants who qualify for the rent holiday, and have had money taken out of their accounts by direct debit during the shutdown, will have their money returned within four working days.
Hospitality businesses will also be given a three month holiday from their Outdoor Dining Licenses.
Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says Council needed to make this decision urgently, as businesses need financial support now, and cash flow is vital.
“So much work has been done already to ensure Nelson functions as a city during the shutdown, but we know many Nelson businesses are struggling to survive, and these measures are critical now as the first part of what will be an extensive package of support for our region’s future.”
Mayor Reese says Council is also conscious that some in the community may have this year’s rates instalment due soon and will be meeting next week to consider if any additional support is needed immediately.
“I want to deliver the message again that for residents who are directly impacted by COVID-19 and find themselves in financial hardship, please call Council staff now to discuss rate payment options – we can work with you on a rate payment plan. We are not going to add to people’s stress and worry at this difficult time.”
Further announcements will be made on adjusting next year’s rate rise and support packages within the Annual Plan once Councillors meet next week to consider options.
“We have time to work through this, with three months to go before the end of the financial year,” says Mayor Reese.
“Realistically we need to consider a two year recovery phase and it is not only next year’s rates, fees, charges and grants that we will be considering, but also impacts on the following year.
“I want everyone to understand that we will be both a compassionate and financially prudent Council and to know that we will be working closely with Tasman District Council and the Government to do the best we can to help our region recover.”
Mayor Reese says one of Council’s key priorities is a thriving city centre, and many of the impacted businesses play a huge role in the cultural life of our city.
“We will be proactive in our efforts to get Nelson back on track.”
Chief Executive Pat Dougherty says Council is united in its support for local business.
“Looking into areas that we can provide relief for our struggling businesses is an ongoing matter for our Management Team.”
Credit: Nelson City Council