LATEST NEWS

Thursday 21 May 2015

Council finishes Long Term Plan decision making process resulting in an overall rates rise of 3.18%

 Clutha District Councillors today finished making decisions about the proposed Long Term Plan 2015/25 at the last of two scheduled meetings.

 Following a month long consultation process that resulted in 358 submissions, a day of verbal hearings and several requests for additional funding Council have made a wide range of decisions about the 10-year plan.

 Today's decisions by Council included:

  • A budget of  $2.63 million in 2015/16 to seal the Nuggets Road, but this is subject to financial assistance from the New Zealand Transport Agency of   about $1.6 million.

  • A $600,000 budget for Stage 2 of the Balclutha Main Street upgrade to cover any additional work that was raised during the streetscape consultation with the community, but that didn’t fit within the initial $2.6million budget.

  • Providing the opportunity for community groups to discuss with Council the future ownership and operation of the Kaitangata Swimming Pool so a decision can be made before 1 November. Councillors decided that unless the community can take over the pool, it will not re-open for the 2015/16 season.  The decision recognises the submissions from the community stating they needed more information about the practicalities of owning and operating a community pool.

  • Confirming the fees and charges increases including the $1 swimming charge increase and the building consent charge increases.

 Earlier this week Council voted on the key issues in the consultation document, including:

  • Phasing-in a 'same service-same charge' approach to urban water services over a six year period which will see all communities paying the same amount for water services.  Currently different rating communities pay different amounts for their water, stormwater and sewerage services.  This is a longer phase-in period than the three years that was presented as an option in the consultation document.

  • Reducing spending on local sealed roads and target investment towards roads that have the most economic significance.

  • To focus on growing the rating base and bringing the draft Economic and Development and Living and Working strategies  back to Council for final approval.

 Provision was also made for:

  • A $1200 annual grant to the Clutha District Emergency Services Trust to help fund a caravan that is deployed in emergencies.

  • An additional $10,000 for operating costs for the Clutha District Combined Museums bringing their grant to $88,000 for the next three years. This does not include provision for an increase in funding for the South Otago Historical  Society's curator position.

  • A $10,000 grant to the Papatowai Rural Fire Force towards extending the existing fire station in Papatowai.

  • A $10,000 increase to the Cross Recreation Centre's operating grant for the next three years.

  • Funding to the Otago Rural Fire Authority (for rural fire tanker replacements) of $85,000 in 2015/16 and $174,250 in 2016/17. To be loan funded over a 10 year period.

The above decisions mean an overall rates rise for the 2015/16 year of 3.18%, a slight increase on the 2.54% initially proposed in the Long Term Plan and an overall rates rise of 3.38% for 2016/17 and 3.02% for 2017/18.

Mayor Bryan Cadogan said  the submission process highlighted a number of projects Council decided were worthy of inclusion.

"But, as always the overall increase of 3.18% doesn't reflect the individual variances throughout the different rating communities."

Mr Cadogan said he would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who took the time to become involved in the process and have their say on the future of our district.

"It was pleasing to see the number of  submissions virtually doubled from the last Long Term Plan in 2012."

The proposed Long Term Plan will now be audited and formally adopted by Council at a meeting on 18 June 2015.

 ENDS


Tuesday 19 May 2015

Council begins Long Term Plan decision making process

Clutha District Councillors today (19 May) began to make decisions about the proposed Long Term Plan 2015/25 at the first of two scheduled meetings.

Following a month long consultation process that resulted in 358 submissions and a day of verbal hearings, Council made a range of decisions about the 10-year plan including on the key consultation issues of water services, roads and growth.

Council voted to phase-in a 'same service-same charge' approach to urban water services over a six year period which will see all communities paying the same amount for water services.  Currently different rating communities pay different amounts for their water, stormwater and sewerage services.  This is a longer phase-in period than the three years that was presented as an option in the consultation document.

Council also voted to reduce spending on local sealed roads and target investment towards roads that have the most economic significance.

Following overwhelming support from submitters, Council agreed to focus on growing the rating base and voted that the draft Economic and Development and Living and Working strategies  be brought back to Council for adoption as final strategies.

Provision was also made for:

-          A $1200 annual grant to the Clutha District Emergency Services Trust to help fund a caravan that is deployed in emergencies.

-          An additional $10,000 for operating costs for the Clutha District Combined Museums bringing their grant to $88,000 for the next three years. This does not include provision for an increase in funding for the South Otago Historical Society's curator position.

-          A $10,000 grant to the Papatowai Rural Fire Force towards extending the existing fire station in Papatowai.

-          An increase to the Cross Recreation Centre's operating grant from $20,000 to $30,00 for the next three years.

-          Funding to the Otago Rural Fire Authority (for rural fire tanker replacements) of $85,000 in 2015/16 and $174,250 in 2016/17. To be loan funded over a   10 year period.

Council will meet for further deliberations and decisions on Thursday 21 May 2015 at 9am, before the proposed Long Term Plan is audited and formally adopted by Council at a meeting on 18 June 2015.

More information about decisions and the impact on rates will be available following the 21 May Council meeting.

ENDS


Tuesday 31 March 2015

 Time to have your say - Clutha District Council's proposed 10 year plans will be out for public consultation next week.

Clutha District Council's proposed plans for the next 10 years will be out for public consultation from 7 April 2015 giving  residents and ratepayers a month to make submissions and tell Council what they think.

 To meet new legislative requirements, for the first time Council has created a magazine-style consultation document that residents should find easy to understand and interesting to read.

 Called Your Community Your Council Your future 2015-2025, it will be mailed out to all ratepayers in the district, as well as being available on Council's website, at Council service centres, libraries and also local businesses.

 It outlines over the medium to long term what Council aims to achieve for the district, some of the projects it intends to deliver and the costs of providing them. It also includes a submission form for people to provide feedback.

 The main questions we are asking include:

 -              Should we increase rates to maintain current standards for local sealed roads OR reduce spending and target investment on roads with the biggest economic impact?

-              Should customers pay for urban water, sewerage and stormwater charges depending on the community they live in, or should a 'same service same charge' be phased in?

-              Do you support Council's focus on future proofing the district, and aiming to grow the rating base?

-              We're also encouraging feedback about rates.

 Mayor Bryan Cadogan said it was an opportunity to look at what Council is planning for the future and if we're getting it right for our residents and ratepayers.

 "I cannot stress enough the significance of these issues for our district, so please make sure to tell us your views."

 A range of community-specific issues were also included in the consultation document such as sealing the Nuggets Road and the future of the Kaitangata Swimming Pool.

Mayor Cadogan said he intended once again to visit each rating community for a 'soapbox' session to give people an opportunity to have their say.

"The proposed changes will impact on people's rates bills, so households need to think about what the changes would mean to them and to the district."

The soapboxes will be held in Clinton, Tapanui and Lawrence on 11 April, Waihola and Milton on 12 April, Balclutha, Stirling and Kaitangata on 18 April and Kaka Point and Owaka on 19 April. 

Council will also be consulting on a range of other strategies and policies including the proposed Economic Development Strategy, Living and Working Strategy, Revenue and Financing Policy, Policy on Remission of Rates, Policy on Remission and Postponement of Rates of Maori Freehold Land, Policy on Financial Contributions and Proposed Schedule of Fees and Charges 2015/16.

Public submissions close on Thursday 7 May 2015.

ENDS


Thursday 26 March 2015

Contract awarded for to seal the Cross Recreation Centre Carpark

Clutha District Council has awarded the construction contract for the sealing of the Cross Recreation Centre carpark, associated drainage work and line marking.

Council accepted the tender from Southroads for the price of $171,000+GST, which was 4.7% below the engineer's pre-tender estimate.

Four tenders were received for this work, ranging from the Southroads price up to $227,000+GST.

District Assets Manager Jules Witt said the cost was 22% above the 2014/15 budget, but Council had approved that this additional $28,000 would be funded through a small increase in the rating requirement.

The impact of this on projected rates ranged from an additional 30 cents for Balclutha households to their annual amount of $2.36 they pay for the centre, down to an annual 3 cents increase for West Otago households to the 24 cents they pay a year. 

Mr Witt said during last year's annual plan process the proposed sealing of the carpark attracted 152 submissions and well as petitions with more than 450 signatures in support of the project.

"The message from the community was seal the parking area and doing so will help increase the life of the centre's playing surface by reducing the amount of dirt and grit that it dragged inside on a daily basis."

Work is expected to start in early April after the Easter Break.

ENDS


Wednesday 25 March 2015

Contract awarded for Balclutha main street upgrade

Clutha District Council has awarded the main construction contract for the upgrade of Balclutha's main street.

Council now expect the work to get underway sometime in April.

Mayor Bryan Cadogan said this was a watershed day for the district after a generation of debating what to do with Balclutha's main street.

"We expect this will be a catalyst for further positive development in the area.  We have a prosperous and  beautiful district and, after this work, we will have a main street that reflects this."

Fulton Hogan was awarded the Balclutha Streetscape Upgrade contract for a price of $2.3 million.

Two tenders were received for this work, which were $2.3million and $2.9 million.

The successful tender was 23% over the engineer's estimate.  

District Assets Manager Jules Witt said the tender was above the engineer's estimate, but Council was confident the first stage could still be done within the funds set aside for the project.

This was helped by the New Zealand Transport Agency confirming a contribution of $200,000 towards the street lighting, he said.

The first stage of work includes the upgrade of the main street running between George and Renfrew Streets and the work planned for the Elizabeth Street town heart and the John Street intersection.

It's expected to be completed by the end of November 2015.  

Council considers this a critical project and will be closely monitoring it throughout its construction stages, including keeping the wider community informed and in particular the affected business community.

ENDS


Tuesday 3 March 2015

Water Supply for the North Bruce Rural Water Scheme - UPDATE

As of Tuesday, March 3, the raw water reservoir for the North Bruce Scheme had risen 2,100 mm or just over 2 metres since its low-level on 20 February and was expected to be at full capacity by Wednesday.

This follows numerous minor leaks on the scheme being fixed and rainfall, which would have helped the inflows into the pond and reduced scheme demand.

This means the conserve water notice issued last month for the scheme has been lifted, although the normal 'Stage One - Summer Mode' water restrictions are still currently in effect for the entire Clutha District.

District Assets Manager Jules Witt said that all leaks were all repaired promptly or isolated after being reported.

He said the next step was to investigate how this situation could  be avoided in the future and discuss possible options with the North Bruce Rural Water Scheme committee.

Mr Witt said the cooperation from customers was greatly appreciated.

ENDS


Tuesday 24 February 2015

Resident Survey Results for 2015

Resident satisfaction with the majority of council services increased over the past year, according to the latest results of the Clutha District Council Resident Survey for 2014.

The telephone survey was conducted between 28 October and 19 November last year (2014) and resulted in 300 residents giving their views about how satisfied they were with various council services.

Senior Policy Analyst Larissa Brown said most services had a satisfaction rating of more than 75%. Topping the list again, with the near perfect score of 99%, was library services, closely followed by service/information centres which increased slightly from 96 to 98%.

Swimming pools had the  biggest improvement in satisfaction levels jumping by 9% from a score of 59% in 2013 to 68%.

Mrs Brown said this was thought to reflect improvements relating to Balclutha's pool temperature.

At the other end of the scale, services which residents thought showed room for improvement included the maintenance level of local unsealed, gravel roads which had a satisfaction score of 52%, although this was still a 3% improvement on 2013.

Council faces significant challenges for roading over the next few years.

On the one hand the survey shows us there are expectations around wanting better maintenance of gravel roads. However, on the other, central government will provide less funding assistance for these roads in the near future.

"As a consequence, Council is working towards a proposal that instead of maintaining all unsealed  roads to current standards, the focus will be on targeting funding towards the roads with the biggest economic benefit to the district."

Footpaths had satisfaction score of 59% and were the service that showed the biggest drop in satisfaction levels from 2013 to 2014, falling by 12%.

"The most common feedback included having more footpaths in towns and uneven footpaths that some people found difficult to walk on," Mrs Brown said.

Footpaths are in a much better condition than they were in 2006 thanks to the Council's upgrading programme, however around 6% or nearly 8km of the footpath network  is still in poor condition. Council is proposing to renew these areas over about the next ten years.

Mrs Brown thanked all those who took part in the survey as the information it provided was an important tool to help Council make informed decisions.

The Resident Survey 2014 report can be viewed online here


Monday 23  February 2015

Water Supply for the North Bruce Rural Water Scheme - UPDATE

As of Monday morning the water reservoir had gained 600 millimetres in depth.

That equates to 1.1 million litres of water (or 1,100 cubic metres of water)  and it is now 58% full.

This follows minor leaks being fixed on the scheme and some significant rainfall over the weekend which would have reduced demand and increased inflow into the pond.

District Assets Manager Jules Witt said Council staff were still working to identify any outstanding problems and if the situation with the pond continued to improve, Council would review the water use restrictions at the end of the week. 

Mr Witt said cooperation from customers was greatly appreciated and urged people to notify Council about any possible leaks or unusual water usage by ringing 0800 801-350 or the Milton Service Centre on 03 417-8109.

ENDS


Thursday 19 February 2015

Water Supply Critically Low for the North Bruce Rural Water Scheme

Water supply for the North Bruce Rural Water Scheme is running critically low, this affects all customers on the scheme, which supplies farms and households from Lovells Flat to Waihola, including Berwick and Tokoiti.

Urgent reductions in demand are required to avoid widespread water outages in the near future.

This means any unnecessary water use by those on the scheme such as watering gardens and cleaning cars is now prohibited until further notice.

Farmers are also urged to check on-farm supplies for any leaks and turn-off any systems that are not critical.

Clutha District Council's District Assets Manager Jules Witt said the raw water level in the reservoir is critically low and it is suspected there is a major leak somewhere on the scheme that is compounding the problem.

Council contractors and staff are working hard around the scheme to identify what is causing these problems and investigating areas of high demand. 

Mr Witt said cooperation from customers is greatly appreciated and he urged people to notify Council about any possible leaks or unusual water usage by ringing 0800 801-350 or the Milton Service Centre on 03 417-8109.

ENDS


Friday 23 January 2015

Balclutha Centennial Swimming Pool Closing for Maintenance & Change of Weekend Hours

The Balclutha Centennial Swimming Pool will close for two days  from 9 am  on Wednesday 4 February and all day Thursday 5 February. 

The pool will re-open again on Waitangi Day, 6 February, from 10 am until 4.30pm.

Weekend hours will also revert back from 7 February to 1pm - 4.30pm for Saturdays and from 10.30am until midday & 1pm - 4.30pm for  Sundays.

Clutha District Council Corporate Services Manager Alan Dickson said the brief shut down was so a water meter and other plant maintenance work could be carried out to make the filtration system run more efficiently.

Mr Dickson said the dates had been chosen to cause the least disruption to pool users, with the school year having started again by then.

Council regrets any inconvenience caused to members of the public wanting to use the pool on those days, but the maintenance work needs to be done to ensure continued reliable operation of the pool, Mr Dickson said.

The pool has been running well and without any major temperature problems since re-opening in September following its annual shutdown period over winter, during which upgrades were made to the water heating system.

 ENDS


Monday 19 January 2015

Balclutha Main Street Upgrade Closer to Construction

Balclutha's main street upgrade is now in its last stage of preparation with the detailed design, drawings and specifications needed for the tender document being finalised.

Council expects to advertise for tenders to carry out this final phase of the project on 31 January.

Manager District Assets Jules Witt said a three-week tender period should mean a tender could be awarded by mid-March. 

He said considerable work had been done to get to this point of construction.

"It's exciting to think construction work on the main street may be able to start at the earliest by the end of March, especially after all the hard work and energy that has gone into the streetscape upgrade."

While construction could start as early as the end of March, the tender does provide for an alternative later start date of late May or early June if substantial savings could be made by  construction companies working outside the peak construction period.

Mayor Bryan Cadogan said that, like everyone else, he was keen to see the project start.

"We have waited so long for this day but it is imperative we get the timing right, so the disruption to businesses on the main street is balanced against the optimal period for construction and potential savings in tender prices."

"We are only going to get 'one shot' at this and our overriding responsibility is to get the best value for the ratepayer money being spent. So, while delays may be frustrating, it will be worth it in the end," Mayor Cadogan said.

 ENDS


 
The following press releases/newsletters are also available:
 
2014 Media Release Archive
 
2013 Media Release / Newsletter Archive
2012 Media Release / Newsletter Archive
2011 Media Release / Newsletter Archive
2010 Media Release / Newsletter Archive

 

 

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