Council to finalise decisions on its Long Term Plan
Key decisions for the Clutha District including providing a budget of $5 million for the Milton Main Street upgrade whilst keeping the district’s overall rates increases below 4% for the next three years, were made at the Clutha District Council Long Term Plan decisions hearing meeting held on May 20.
Following a month-long consultation process that resulted in over 200 submissions and a verbal hearing, Council has made a wide range of decisions about the 10-year plan.
Clutha District Council Mayor Bryan Cadogan said with unprecedented demands from both community expectations, and Government directive, this year’s LTP process has challenged like never before.
“I am immensely proud that council has continued to show unflinching support to our district’s collective wishes. This LTP heralds a huge focus on core infrastructure spend, with a budgeted increase of 25% in roading over the next 3 years, and a staggering $278 million in core infrastructural spending over the next 10 years.
“To achieve this increase in core spending, while responding to all our communities’ requests is a great achievement. To have done this while maintaining our 4% rate cap over the next 3 years for me is one of councils proudest moments, and would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the structural changes made five years ago to our investment portfolio which this year returned over 21%, and for the organisation’s cohesion and commitment to our District’s ‘Living and Working’ strategy.”
He said while the overall District rate increase this year was 3.95%, once again the predominant cost drivers were in the urban communities frustratingly, in a period where urban communities face environmental and social demands this year, those communities also saw a sharp lift in urban valuations compared with rural valuations, exacerbating increases in this sector.
“Council wants to thank the huge number of people that actively assisted us in getting the balance right for Clutha, it has been a tonic to engage with so many positive people that are passionate about the district we all love, and this process has been another strong step to a brighter future,” Mayor Cadogan said.
Water supply got a big tick in this year’s Long Term Plan consultation with Council approving a budget of $14.5 million to establish a new supply from the Clutha River and build a new treatment plant to amalgamate the Balmoral 1,2, Tuapeka East, and West rural water schemes and decommission the Evans Plant and Waitahuna plants.
In regards to the decision to agree to the $5 million of funding to do the extended Milton Main Street improvements, from Mill Street to Abercrombie Street, Councillors acknowledged that the majority of submitters were in favour of this and expressed to Council the need to do it once and do it right.
Council spread support from the discretionary investment surplus throughout the district by approving, amongst many projects, $150,0000 for the West Otago Health Trust for building expansions (in addition to a $150,000 loan), $200,000 to support a destination playground in Waihola and $195,000 to help with improvements to the Owaka Swimming Baths.
Project Bruce got a new rate to help fund this service of $60,000 per annum, after Central Government funding ended.
A number of worthy projects highlighted in the “Our Place” plans and reserve management plans for The Catlins, Lawrence/Tuapeka and Kaitangata also got funding ticks at yesterday’s meeting along with a raft of individual community funding requests, and a one off grant of $180,000 earmarked to help grow tourism and visitor spending in the Clutha District, most being funded via the discretionary investment surplus.
$125,000 will be set aside to carry out safety assessment work on the districts community housing (this will be funded by a rental increase) and Council approved funding for a permanent Ranger position to not only monitor freedom camping in the district but also other regulatory functions including littering.
Councillors agreed to extend for another year, funding to be available for Covid-19 related rates distress and business support.
Fees and charges were approved with the cost of undertaking Council’s Property Files Digitisation Project to be funded from fees and charges rather than rates.
Council staff will now update the proposed 2021-31 Long Term Plan ready for independent audit and sign off before it is adopted at a Council Meeting on June 17.
A full list of the decisions made at the yesterday’s meeting will be available here: