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ORC to seek views on draft Annual Plan

Media Release - 10 March 2016

The public of Otago will be soon be consulted on the Otago Regional Council’s draft Annual Plan, which includes being asked to provide feedback on proposed new activities and programmes for 2016-17.

These include:

  • Increased activity in harbour safety, including appointment of a dedicated harbourmaster;
  • Increasing civil defence staff numbers to meet legislative requirements for a welfare manager;
  • Additional staff to meet increased requests for natural hazards analysis.
  • Increased staffing for our rural water quality project;
  • Allocation of reserve funding for development of a regional economic growth strategy;
  • Allocation of reserve funding for the establishment of a new stock truck effluent disposal site in Central Otago; and
  • Targeted funding to support the management of wilding conifers in Central Otago.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said: “The amount of work we need to do is increasing, especially in our water quality, emergency management, and natural hazards areas.”

“Because of this, we need to increase our general rates so that we can provide our community with appropriate levels of these important services,” Mr Woodhead said.

Councillors have also proposed a change in how the Taieri and Clutha flood and drainage schemes are rated and whether the private versus public benefit split was appropriately reflected in how the scheme is funded.

“These schemes protect critical infrastructure such as state highways, rail networks, and Dunedin Airport. Protecting this infrastructure is of benefit to the wider community who rely on this for economic and social reasons,” Mr Woodhead said.

“We were asked by those in the scheme areas to reconsider what the amount of public benefit of the schemes are and whether this is reflected in the funding policy.”

Independent economic consultants Castalia were asked to review the schemes’ public-private benefit.

Based on their recommendations, ORC is proposing to reassign $284,000 of targeted rates to general rates, predominantly in the Dunedin and Clutha districts.

ORC director corporate services Nick Donnelly said with the new activities proposed and recommended changes to flood and drainage rating for the Taieri and Lower Clutha, general rates would increase by around $7.50 based on the region’s median property value of $260,000.

All Otago households will early next month receive in their mailboxes a copy of the draft Annual Plan consultation document, which contains full details and explanation of the proposed changes in an easy-to-understand format. The document will also be made available on the ORC website.

Mr Woodhead said people were encouraged to make submissions on the document and if they wanted to, speak to those submissions before a council hearing committee.

Submissions close at 5pm on May 6. Hearings will be held throughout the region from the week starting May 16.

For more information contact

Political
Stephen Woodhead
Chairman
ORC
Ph 027 280 1635

Financial
Nick Donnelly
Director corporate services
ORC
Ph 0800 474082 or 0274 549 148

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