Small rates increase to fund Otago priorities

Media Release - 03 April 2019

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is finalising its Draft Annual Plan, which sets a framework for ongoing focus on its four priorities: water, climate change, urban development and biodiversity.

“Last year’s long-term plan indicated a small rates rise for Otago for the year ahead. Consultation showed that ratepayers supported the move to pay higher general rates in order for us to undertake more work in these areas across the region” says Stephen Woodhead, ORC Chairperson.

“Since the LTP was adopted, we have commenced a review of our Water Plan, we will fast track our climate change work and we’ve identified urban development as a stream of work that needs greater levels of effort.”

“The Annual Plan will require a general rates increase spread across the region of $364,000 from what was previously forecast in the long-term plan. With our more detailed understanding of the work that’s needed to achieve what’s outlined in the long-term plan, including commitments in water, climate change and urban development, we can more accurately forecast the funding we need.”

“This general rates increase equates to around $10-$25 per household per year in Otago for a property of mid-range value around the region. We feel this is a reasonable increase considering the work we need to undertake,” said Mr Woodhead.

“Councillors and staff will be attending community events around the region in the coming months to give the community an opportunity to discuss the plan for the year ahead” ORC’s Chief Executive, Sarah Gardner said.

“Because there are no significant or material changes to what we consulted on in the long-term plan for 2018-2028 we are not formally calling for submissions this year, but we’re keen to ensure that our lines of communication with ratepayers and the community are open, and that we’re hearing any key feedback before the final plan is adopted.”



This table shows the impact on the general rates proportion of rates bills for properties of average value in each district:


Queenstown Lakes District

Central Otago District

Clutha District

Waitaki District

Dunedin City

Average CV






General rates would be






Increase from last year






There will be multiple forums for communities across Otago to speak with councillors and staff directly on areas of specific concern for them – look out for information on the ORC facebook page and your local community newspaper.

An online suggestion box has also been created to ensure all members of the community are given a year-round forum to provide their ideas for how they think ORC should be working towards a better Otago and what their specific priorities are.

Because there are no significant or material changes to the long-term plan, a formal consultation is not required. However, the council are still keen to hear from the community and to let them know what’s happening.


Annual Plan 2018/19

Long Term Plan forecast total

Proposed Annual Plan 2019/20

General rates income




Targeted rates income





This table shows next year’s proposed budget compared to this year’s budget, across the ORC’s activity areas.

Annual Plan 2018/19

Significant Activity

Proposed Annual Plan 2019/20





-       Planning

-       Strategies












-       Water

-       Air

-       Coast

-       State of Environment

-       Biodiversity

-       Pests











-       Governance










Flood Protection & River Management

-       Flood

-       Rivers








Safety & Hazards

-       Emergency Management

-       Hazards








Total Expenditure


Funding Source

Percentage of total income

General rates


Targeted rates


Fees & charges; grants




Port Otago dividends; investment interest




ORC Media Coordinator: 027 558 7551

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