Library fines may be dropped

Waipā District Council has joined a nation-wide library movement and is proposing to remove library fines.

The proposal is outlined in a revised schedule of council’s fees and charges for 2023/24, to go out for public consultation later this month.

Brad Ward

Community Services manager Brad Ward said the proposal to do away with library fines follows a decision to stop fining users for overdue childrens’ book, made in 2019. That decision had been received well, and anecdotally had removed a barrier for library users, he said.

“The Cambridge Community Board has been advocating we drop overdue fines on all books for some time and this is something council is happy to consider,” Ward said. “We collect $18,000 in fines each year and the administration involved and the tension those fines create mean it’s time for us to reconsider our approach.”

Council is seeking feedback on the library fine proposal as well as all other proposed fees and charges for the 2023/24 financial year.

A four-week consultation period opens on Tuesday March 14 with submissions closing 5pm, Friday April 14.

The majority of fees remain the same as the current 2022/23 year. However, some items will see an increase of up to five per cent, reflecting inflation. Council is proposing to introduce some new fees for dog control, building control and food and health premises registrations.

Submissions on the proposed changes can be made online, via email or through a hard copy submission delivered to  ouncil offices or libraries in Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

Hearings and deliberations are scheduled to take place on Tuesday 2 May, with the  council meeting to adopt the new fees and charges to be held in late May.

Fees and charges are reviewed and updated annually and are applicable for the 2023/24 year, commencing on July 1.

More information about fees and charges and submission forms is available from Tuesday March 14 on the council website at www.waipadc.govt.nz/haveyoursay. This information includes the full Schedule of Fees and Charges 2023/24 and the statement of proposal outlining reasons for the proposed changes.

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