Draft 3 Year Plan out now
The draft 3 Year Plan 2018-2021 is all about making choices for the future of our District. Council has developed a plan that sets big work programmes to tackle some of our District’s biggest issues and meets our community’s needs and our legal responsibilities.
The community has been asking for improvements in our services, our roads, our water systems and our assets since before the earthquake. On top of that, we now have significant earthquake damage to our horizontal infrastructure and community facilities, a need to improve our drinking water and legal obligations to update our District Plan. Together, these factors mean our Council has increased costs to meet, and needs to deliver a lot over the next three years. This draft plan sets out how we can get that done.
The plan proposes rates rises to allow Council to make the improvements the community has been asking for. The additional funds will help us rebuild our horizontal infrastructure to better than it was pre-earthquake, rebuild some community facilities, improve a wide range of our services and manage our assets better.
Over 70% of rates will be spent on assets or horizontal infrastructure.
Speaking of the draft plan, Mayor Winston Gray said, “the plan proposes some big improvements and it’s more important than ever that ratepayers and residents make a submission. I’d encourage people to submit on the positives as well as the negatives – if you like something we’re proposing, make a submission to support it – that way, when Council prepares to make its final decisions, we’ll have the full picture.”
“At the end of the day, Council's plans are informed by our ratepayers and no final decisions have been made. We believe that what we've proposed is what's needed but it’s up to the ratepayer to make their own choices too. We fully expect our ratepayers to have a range of views on our preferred choices and we're more than happy to discuss them at any of the planned community workshops, or to hear from ratepayers through a submission.”
In addition to outlining improvements to key assets, the draft 3 Year Plan includes money for work on several Council-owned community facilities to make them useable and safe. It provides funding for continued community access to a pool for the next few years, plus up to $700,000 contributed towards the planning, design and community consultation around a new pool. It will see all Council’s drinking water schemes supplying safe, drinkable water, and using better monitoring and alerting systems.
Under the plan, the horizontal infrastructure rebuild will be completed by 2020, including improved resilience in case of future natural disasters or weather events and improvements to the sewer and key bridges. Council will begin an update of the District Plan, prioritizing the natural hazards chapter to help provide certainty as soon as possible for properties affected by the changes to our Districts natural hazards. Support for Earthcheck and other environmental work will continue, including planning and beginning the development of the District’s resource recovery centre at Innovative Waste Kaikōura. Council has also planned to address freedom camping issues.
Council is proposing to employ a full-time Economic Development staff member to work with an external economic governance board to help develop, support and grow Kaikōura’ s economy. A Community Development Officer will be found to replace 5 current externally funded roles. To identify potential cost saving or revenue, and to support the proposed work, a strategic review of all Council’s assets is needed.
CEO Angela Oosthuizen identifies financial management as the key issue in the plan. “Our goal is to keep our rates as affordable as possible while delivering what’s needed. We’ve sought funding from central government and others, and looked at how we can raise new revenue and reviewed our fees and charges to make sure costs are passed on more directly to those using o
ur services, rather than the general ratepayer The planned review of our assets will make sure that we’re making smart decisions about what we own, what we can sell and how we're investing in our district.”
“We’ve planned to make the most of funding assistance from central government and others. For example, thanks to our arrangements with the New Zealand Transport Agency and central government, Council’s share of the horizontal rebuild bill is $4.5million, from a total of $37.9million.”
“Balancing service delivery and affordability is never easy. We've developed three options for ratepayers to choose from, that range from a large increase in one year to spreading the costs of the rise over 4 years. There are pros and cons for each choice, but Council’s preferred option is to spread the cost over two years. This gives ratepayers slightly longer to adjust to higher rates and reduces the amount of loan related costs.”
“We estimate that the changes will cost our ratepayers between an extra $3 a week for a semi-rural property worth $255,000 to an $45 extra per week for a farm worth over $8million. We know this will be hard for some ratepayers but we believe that this is what’s needed for our people, our environment, our land and the future of our District. It will help us create a District that can live up to the ‘Reimagine Kaikōura’ Recovery plan and move forward as a great place to live, with a strong, well-connected community, be ecologically exemplary and economically prosperous.”
“We’ve done what we can within our current rates model to share rates costs across all our ratepayers as fairly as possible. Over the next three years, we’ll look what further changes our rates model needs to make sure it fits the District,” Oosthuizen said.
Consultation will run from Friday 4 May 2018 to Tuesday 5 June 2018, including the following community workshops.
Council will hear from anyone who wishes to speak at hearings on June 14th and 15th. The final plan will be adopted on June 27th.