Media release

ORC Chairman thanks the community for input as rates notices go out

Wednesday 22 August 2018

With rates notices being delivered in the next few days, the ORC is thanking the community for the input given on budgets and work plans via the Long Term Plan consultation earlier this year.

During the consultation period on the ORC’s proposed Long Term Plan, 569 submissions from the public were received that highlighted the community’s desire for Council to do more. Public hearings were held in Queenstown, Alexandra and Dunedin in late May 2018, providing people with the opportunity to speak to their submissions. These submissions were carefully considered and led to some significant change to the plan before it was adopted.

ORC’s Director of Corporate Services, Nick Donnelly said, “The ORC is enormously mindful of rating levels and the financial impact they can have on people and the economy. Considerable care has been taken in finding a balance between the cost of doing more and the impact that would have on our rates to the public.”

Mr Donnelly said, “Our use of existing financial reserves, the Port Otago dividend and the increase to rates is enabling important work to be done for the environment, including water quality, drainage and flood protection and areas around climate change. We’ve had a strong message that these are the areas our community wants us to focus on.”

The general rate amount that applies to all properties across Otago has increased by 21.1%. The actual dollar amount will be relatively modest for most ratepayers, with an average general rate increase across the region of $13.22.

ORC Chairman, Stephen Woodhead said, “We intend our Long Term Plan to provide the framework to allow progress in sustainable resource management over the next 10 years. We also understand the need to remain flexible to change, from our community, partners and our own learning.”

Mr Woodhead also said, “The Councillors and Council staff are committed to working constructively with all of the communities of Otago to ensure the best possible outcomes for our region and its people. We’d like to thank our communities for highlighting what’s most important to them and for contributing to the dialogue that will result in this important work being done”

Nick Donnelly – Director of Corporate Services - 0274 549 148

Emma Schranz – ORC Senior Media Advisor - 0276275894