Council finishes Annual Plan decisions for 2022-23
Council finished making its key decisions for the Clutha District on Thursday May 19,2022, having managed to keep the rates increase under 4%, in what was a challenging budget year, given the impact of previous years’ decisions to keep the change under a 2% increase during the COVID-19 pandemic and overall increasing inflationary costs.
Following a month-long consultation process that resulted in over 87 written and 15 verbal submissions Council has now made a wide range of decisions for the Clutha District.
Clutha District Council Mayor Bryan Cadogan said the 2022-23 Annual Plan has loomed for sometime as a year that would “push” our budgets, with so many necessary projects and capital upgrades underway.
“Add to this the recent inflationary pressure and the challenge to remain under our self-imposed 4% cap becomes apparent.
“Key enablers to Council accommodating such a wide range of requests while remaining within budget was the prudent move last year to squirrel away $570,000 of surplus from our investment fund and the three waters ‘better off’ support package for Clutha of $3.27 million,” Mayor Cadogan said.
Clutha Community Hub
Council approved additional funding of $2.5 million using surplus investment funds to support the Clutha Community Hub build.
The decision to put forward the additional $2.5M was further supported by Council with the recent confirmation from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit to authorise a further investment of up to $2.5M. The Otago Community Trust had also recently announced funding of $2.2M to this project.
Council acknowledged the support of the funding partners to help get the Clutha Hub project back on track which had been impacted by increased build costs of $3.1M because of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing increasing pressure on the construction industry due to supply chain and personnel shortages which have caused cost increases.
“Better Off” Funding
Several of Council’s big projects will be able to be advanced by utilising central government three waters reform ‘better off’ funding that was recently announced. The “better off” funding is an investment by the Crown into the future, for local government and community well-being. It is intended to support councils to transition to their new role post-reform.
It recognises the relative needs of local communities, the unique challenges facing local authorities in meeting those needs, and the relative differences across the country in the ability to pay for those needs.
$3.27M is available in the first tranche of funding allocated to the Clutha District and will be available for use from July 1, 2022.
Milton Community Pool and Library Facility Project
Council agreed at the meeting to put forward a “better off” funding proposal of $1.9M for the Milton Community Pool and Library Facility project.
The Milton Community Pool and Library Facility project has evolved considerably in the past two years since the Annual Plan consultation held in 2019. Council and the Bruce Community Facilities Trust acknowledge the importance of this being a community-led project to save costs to ratepayers and ensure that the local community was behind what was a significant project in their community.
The Trust has been gathering all of the required information for the general scope and cost in the past two years and the Trust has asked Council to consider supporting a more extensive facility than initially proposed in 2019/20. The Trust have also indicated that they believe that they will be able to raise approximately $2M.
A significant change in Council’s contribution requires additional consultation. At the meeting Council approved to undertake public consultation in June/July 2022, in conjunction with the Trust on two different options for the facility these are:
- Contribute to a community library and pool facility with 6 lanes ($10M to 11M). Council indicated this was their preferred option.
- Contribute to a community library and pool facility with 8 lanes ($14M to $17M).
Balclutha Streetscape Stage 2
Council also agreed at the meeting to put forward $1.3M of the “better off” allocation towards a funding proposal for the Balclutha Streetscape Stage 2.
Balclutha Streetscape Stage 1 was completed in 2015, with Stage 2 to take place at a time when consideration could be given for the Clutha Community Hub area on Clyde Street.
Council is now at this point to undertake work to landscape and provide carparking in the vicinity of the Clutha Community Hub.
However there is a significant shortfall from the initial allocation of $602K 2021-31 LTP and $400K in 2022/23 because the scope has now increased to include a larger area with additional landscaping and carparking. It is estimated to cost at least $1.7M and therefore utilising the “better off” fund to help with the $1.3M shortfall.
Naish Park Duck Pond – Council approved an additional $9,063 from investment funds to install a bore that will remove the need for rated potable water use and enable the duck pond to be flushed regularly to help reduce algae growth and improve water quality. The duck pond water quality issue was highlighted by the community in the Balclutha Reserve Management Plan.
Balclutha Centennial Park Carpark – Council approved $24,000 to fund stage one of a carpark construction at the South Otago Athletics Club using its investment fund surplus. Council acknowledged the need to make improvements to the existing car park area with the junior bike park now established, there has been an increase in traffic into the parks and development of the children’s playground would likely to further increase traffic flow into the area.
Gabriel’s Gully entrance – Council agreed to carry forward existing funding of $50,000 from the 2020/21 to 2022/23 budgets to progress the Gabriel’s Gully entrance aspect of this project, including Council reserve, carpark and toilet improvements. The Lawrence Tuapeka Community Board’s submission to Council highlighted they would like to see the funds retained for design plans/redevelopment of the entrance and it was important to them that these funds are not reallocated to another project.
Community Funding Request
The following community funding requests were approved at yesterday’s Council Meeting:
Total Amount Given
Lawrence Playground Committee
Whitehaven Street Playground
Owaka Community Centre
Renovations to the community centre
South Otago Mountain Bike Club
Vehicle entrance and roadway to mountain bike park
Taieri Mouth Amenities Society
Resurfacing Taieri Mouth tennis courts
Cross Recreation Centre
2022/23 operating grant
2022/23 operating grant
Lawrence Tuapeka Community Board
Peace Garden rejuvenation
Lawrence Tuapeka Community Board
Steep Street tree arborist assessment
Catlins Coast Inc
Funding to development Tear Off Map and Care Code
Kaka Point Surf Lifesaving
2022/23 operating grant
Big River Kahui Ako
To support the use of ChatBus to help improve the well-being of Clutha’s youth
Gore Woman’s Refuge
Funding increase to help fund a qualified social worker to provide support services in Balclutha and the wider Clutha District
New Zealand Chinese Language Week
Funding, staff and a Mayoral support video
South Otago Historical Society
Curator salary in 2022/23
Our Place West Otago
Council approved funding to support projects that had been highlighted during the Our Place West Otago Community Plan consultation.
Whilst it was acknowledged that the West Otago Community Plan had not yet been completed, these projects were identified, based on survey rankings and feedback. Council agreed it was appropriate to consider these projects in this Annual Plan as there was community expectation that action should occur now, and not wait another year.
The follow West Otago Community Plan project funding has been earmarked and investment surplus funding has been committed:
- Bushyhill Street Playground (new equipment), $40,000
- Additional Recreational Facilities (investigation), $50,000
- Walking and Cycling Trails (investigation), $20,000
- Triangle Reserve (enhancement), $20,000
- Residential Development (investigation), $30,000
- Whiskey Gully (improvements and pest eradication), $30,000
- Black Gully (improvements and pest eradication), $10,000
- Tapanui and Heriot Main Street and Town Entrances (enhancement), $20,000
Because these projects are at an early stage, individual projects will need to come back to Council for approval, but funding has been set aside.
Fees and charges were approved with the following fee increases planned to take effect on 1 July 2022:
Landfill fees and wheelie bin charges: Due to significant upwards pressure on refuse disposal costs from a waste levy increase and a significantly higher Emissions Trading Scheme cost, waste costs will rise. The refuse charge per tonne to Mt Cooee landfill will increase from $155 to $209 and the wheelie bin rate will increase from $177 to $208.
Consents: A new Digi-docs charge of $150 on all consents is to recover the cost of property file digitisation. Hourly charge out rates for consent-related work will increase from $150 to $160.
Dog Registrations: Council takes a user pays approach to these services and the fee increase is aimed to ensure the majority of these costs are covered through dog registration fees. The new fees are:
Registration Fee (Dogs 3 months of age or over at 1 July 2022)
Rural – Non-Working $63.00
Rural – Working $45.00
Urban – Working and Non-Working $90.00
Responsible Dog Owner – per dog $63.00
Dangerous Dog Base fee + 50%
Penalty Charge (After 1 August)
Rural – Non-Working $31.50
Rural – Working $22.50
Urban – Working and Non-Working $45.00
Responsible Dog Owner – per dog $31.50
Responsible Dog Owner $25.00
Three or more Dogs (Non-Working) $66.00
Swimming pool charges: After remaining at the same level for the past five years, an increase of 50 cents per swim has been introduced.
Basic Development Engineering Inspection Fee: This fee has been included to enable recovery of costs for inspections to assist developers where work is not covered by a building consent and to ensure appropriate standards are being met for Council infrastructure. An inspection can cover both water and sewerage connections and is generally for work undertaken outside the boundary of a development. Large developments (greater than 3 additional lots) will be charged on a time basis at the consent monitoring staff hourly rate.
Remission of Separately Used or Inhabited Parts of a Rating Unit (SUIP)
At the meeting Council approved updates to its Policy on Rates Remission 2022.
In 2021 ratepayers raised concerns to Council in public forum about a lack of clarity around the Separately Used or Inhabited Parts of a Rating Unit (SUIP) rating mechanism. There were also concerns raised by ratepayers with staff and elected members about SUIPs and the impact this rating mechanism has on the amount they pay in rates overall. These concerns had been primarily raised in instances for home-based businesses. The overarching principle was costs should lie where they fall, and that the level of rates links with levels of service and approving these SUIP policy updates is expected to address these concerns.
Service Delivery Decisions
Council agreed to cover a deficit of $502,650 in its Service Delivery function of Council. This will be delt with by utilising $100K from the wastewater reserve and the balance from the deferred Roading Maintenance Fund. This deficit was a result of the additional consulting resource that was required to provide interim cover until the Transportation & Facilities Manager vacancy could be filled and also to support the additional input that has been required to deal with the workload created by an increased focus on resource consent compliance and the operational demands of the water and waste operations contract.
Council also agreed to await further information regarding a Capital Delivery Strategic Programme Review as part of a review of the 2022/23 and 23/24 capital works programme over the next month.
Council opted to not approve $460,000 for an extension of water and wastewater to Beacon Street, Waihola . The reason being that the area was currently zoned rural and based on a realistic estimate of the number of properties, it was considered unlikely that the investment in infrastructure in this area, would be recovered in the foreseeable future.
Council approved $500,000 to bring forward the Kaka Point Reservoir renewal project to the 2022/23 Year (funded from urban water by way of a loan). The Richardson Rural Water Scheme Committee requested that this be bought forward to coincide with the other reservoir upgrades around the district therefore providing better pricing and increased capacity for the Kaka Point Township.
Funding of $50,000 has been approved by Council for the balance of the previous earmarked “Provincial Growth Fund” (PGF) work for the Waiwera South, Waitahuna and Owaka Community Centres. It will now be funded from reserves from each hall and its operating budgets. Unfortunately Council is not able to reallocate underspent PGF funding between hall projects, however the current reserve budgets have been identified as being available reserves to cover these additional costs without requiring a loan or additional rates.
A $50,000 budget has been earmarked for painting and other capital upgrades at the Kaitangata Pool – to be funded from Kaitangata Pool Reserves. Council congratulated the Kaitangata Pool Committee on the work they have done.
Final minor adjustments to overall financials will be made by Council staff to ensure the budgets approved by Council at the Annual Plan Decisions meeting include an overall rates change of below 4% and meet the 30% cap (applied to the uniform annual general charge and other targeted rates) which is required under section 21 of the Local Government (Rating) Act.
Council staff will now update the proposed 2022-23 Annual Plan in preparation for it to be adopted at a Council Meeting on June 23, 2022.