Thursday, 24 May 2018
Council begins Long Term Plan decision making
Clutha District Councillors last night (23 May) started making decisions about the proposed Long Term Plan 2018/28.
Following a month long consultation process that resulted in more than 370 submissions and two sessions of verbal hearings, Council has made a wide range of decisions about the 10-year plan.
Council will meet for further decisions tonight, before the proposed Long Term Plan is audited and formally adopted on 13 June. More information about the decisions and rates impact will be available after tonight’s meeting.
Decisions about key issues as highlighted in our consultation document were as follows:
- Council confirmed the Milton main street upgrade project as a multi-year project with a budget of $2 million. Council has also already included $550,000 in the 2019/20 budget to complete a major overhaul of Milton’s main public toilet at Stewart Reserve. Improving Milton’s main street was one of the top priorities identified in the Our Place Milton Community Plan.
- Council agreed to a larger, purpose-built recovery centre and transfer station at Mt Cooee Landfill with a budget of $700,000. They also approved a budget of $200,000 over the next three years to extend the operational consent of the landfill.
- Council confirmed a budget of $2 million for sealing gravel roads in urban areas, this will be paid for via a fixed charge across all urban local roading rating areas and will allow about 5.7km of gravel roads to be sealed. This is change of position by Council as since 2009 the high cost of sealing means we have only sealed roads when they qualify for funding assistance from NZ Transport Agency. The roads that will be given priority for this new sealing are still to be finalised and a prioritisation process is yet to be determined, but it will be within the urban communities that Council consulted on and is intended to address the negative impacts and environmental effects of traffic on these unsealed roads.
In addition following a number of public submissions about the state of gravel roads, Council approved
- A programme for prioritising and sealing rural roads will also be considered and consulted on during the 2019/20 Annual Plan process, and
- A budget of $1 million to buy stockpiles of gravel. This is to allow the gravel to weather for longer before being applied to roads. The aim is for the gravel to better settle and compact– and therefore be less susceptible to corrugation and potholes. Having stockpiles will also enable Council to adjust its metalling programme at short notice and respond to adverse weather and rapid changes in road usage.
- Council also voted to change the way we rate for communities facilities such as halls, parks, reserves, pools, sports grounds, and playgrounds. This will now see a fixed charge for all ratepayers who live in the same defined wider “community of interest” area. Currently, how much you pay for these facilities depends on the value of your land and whether you live inside or outside the town boundary. The motivation behind the change is to make the rating system as fair as possible and is based on the idea that the same services and facilities are available to everyone in that area whether they live urban or rurally.
Other decisions included:
- Varying increases or adjustments in budgets for rural water schemes and water treatment plants.
- Council approved additional funding to improve the response time and contacts with customers for the service request system.
- A budget of $85,000 (funded over 10 years) for improvement projects in Lawrence parks and reserves.
- $1 million funded over 25 years towards the extension of the Clutha Gold Trail, to enable this cycling and walking track to continue on from Lawrence to Milton and Waihola.
- $150,000 towards a capital improvement programme at the Cross Recreation Centre.
- Increasing Clutha Development’s budget by $85,000 to invest in tourism, including a district destination plan and a tourist infrastructure feasibility study.
- To grant the Clutha District Youth Council $10,000 to support the initiation of a campaign against illegal substance use, such as meth.
Council has received a large number of requests for grants from community groups for the 2018/19 year, a full list of what has been approved or not will be available following tonight’s meeting.
Following feedback about proposed changes to our dog fees, Council adopted the following:
A rural working dog will now cost $38 to register
A rural non-working dog will now cost $48 to register
All urban dogs will now cost $68 to register
In addition, responsible dog owners will now pay $48 with a one-off application fee of $20.
These are different to the proposed fees changes we consulted on, and the changes are based on feedback and how to split the dog fees in the most equitable way, as well as trying to reflect the areas in which most of our response work is carried out. It’s also worth noting that our animal control activity has been running at a deficit for the past two years and will also be in deficit this year, these new fees will help alleviate this.
Fees are currently $26 for working and non-working rural dogs and $58 for all urban dogs. The new fees will take place from 1 July 2018.