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Proposed Changes to BOPRC Regional Councils Resource Management Act and Building Act Charges Policy 2016/2017

Proposed changes to Council Charges Policy

Introduction

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is responsible for controlling the use of a wide range of resources, which requires us to process resource consents, monitor and manage consented and other authorised activities and investigate the state of the region’s resources. 

The framework for setting charges to do this work sits under Section 36 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). Under Section 36 we can recover reasonable costs from consent holders and applicants for the following functions:

  • Receiving, processing and granting of resource consents (including certificates of compliance);
  • Administration, monitoring and supervision of resource consents (including certificates of compliance) and resource management functions under Section 35 of the RMA (environmental monitoring);
  • Reviewing resource consent conditions under Section 128(1)(a) and (c) of the RMA and reviews carried out at the request of the consent holder;
  • Providing information in respect of plans and resource consents;
  • Supplying documents;
  • Charges authorised by regulations; and
  • Extra charges where a fixed charge is not enough to recover our costs, for example, where the cost of processing a consent application is greater than the deposit fee paid by the applicant.

Each year we develop a charging policy that sets out what costs we intend to recover from carrying out our regulatory functions. 

Council’s cost of inflation has been set at 1.9% for the 2016/2017 financial year.

Proposed Resource Management Act Charges 

RMA charges are reviewed annually. The key changes proposed are:

  • Remove the $390 fixed fee associated with processing consent applications for existing lake structures and bring the application fee and processing costs for these applications in line with the majority of other resource consent applications i.e. a deposit fee of $774 (gst inclusive);
  • Increase the Base Fee by inflation of 1.9% (BERL);
  • Increase charges in Schedule A and 1A by 9%. This reflects the benchmarking outlined in Table 1 (below). The increase is proposed to be capped at 9% inclusive of the BERL Local Government Index for inflation which is 1.9%. Therefore the benchmarked increase component for staff charges is 7.1%;
  • Increase all Schedule 1B-12B (Regional Impact/Monitoring) charges by inflation of 1.9% (BERL);
  • Continue to waive the base fee, compliance/supervision and regional/impact monitoring charges for 2016/17 for Low Risk Onsite Effluent Treatment System discharge consents;
  • Make no changes to any other charges within the Charges Policy (including the Consent Application Fees and the Building Act charges).

Charges for Resource Consent Applications

Application fees

It is not proposed to increase application fees as the actual and reasonable costs incurred above the deposit are recovered from applicants.

It is proposed to continue with the policy that allows applications to reduce the annual volume/rate of water allocated under a water take consent to be processed free of charge.  This policy has been in place for several years, and Council officers encourage consent holders to make such applications where the volume or rate of water actually taken is much less than that allocated.  The administration of these applications is simple and the policy encourages efficient use of water.

Other application fees (fixed charges)

The $390 fixed fee for existing lake structures is not sufficient for Council to cover the actual and reasonable costs associated with processing consent applications. It is proposed to bring these applications in line with the majority of other resource consent applications i.e. charge the general application fee of $774 (gst inclusive) plus any additional fees incurred on an actual and reasonable basis.

No other changes recommended.

General Charges

Staff Charges

Charges for staff time can be incurred by consent and plan change applicants, consent holders and people requesting information from Council. The hourly charge rate has been increased for the staff positions by 9% to allow for inflation and reflect recent benchmarking with our Regional Council’s throughout New Zealand.

Table 1: A comparison of Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff charges compared to other Regional Councils

 

2015/2016   Council Staff Charge - GST inclusive

(including   % difference from BOPRC staff charge)

Position

Bay   of Plenty

Auckland

Waikato

Hawkes   Bay

Admin  

$89.70

$103 (+15%)

$102 (+14%)

$94.30 (+5%)

PPO/Consents

$111.55

$141 (+26%)

$131.10 (+17%)

$123.05 (+10%)

/$141.45 (+27%)

Technical/Scientist

$133.40

$170 (+27%)

$155.25 (+16%)

$109 (-18%)

 

Position

Wellington

Canterbury

Otago

Southland

Admin  

$120.75 (+35%)

$95 (+9%)

$80 (-11%)

$76 (-15%)

PPO/Consents

$138.00 (+24%)

$132 (+18%)

$110 (-1%)

$105 (-6%)

Technical/Scientist

$155.25 (+16%)

$149 (+12%)

$160 (+20%)

$136 (+2%)

Data obtained from Council websites where readily available or comparable. 

Annual Consent Holder Charges

The annual charge is made up of three components – the base charge, the compliance monitoring charge and the regional/impact monitoring charge.

Base charge

The base charge is paid by the majority of consent holders. It contributes to administration services costs, such as compiling and monitoring accounts, dealing with general enquiries and maintaining consents and compliance databases.

The base charge is proposed to increase by 1.9% from $97 to $99 to allow for inflation.

Compliance/supervision charges for resource consents

The compliance/supervision schedule of charges sets out fees that people pay based on our requirement to monitor consents issued. The programme reflects the level of risk associated with an activity, i.e. to ensure that high risk activities are visited more frequently than low risk activities. Any instances of non-compliance are followed up by additional compliance inspections until the activity is in compliance – consent holders are charged an extra fee for these additional inspections, based on actual and reasonable costs.

The frequency at which we intend to monitor consented activities is set out in Schedules 1A and 2A of the Council Charges Policy. 

Activities charged a ‘fixed fee’ (listed in Schedule 1A) are proposed to increase by 9% to reflect the increase in staff charges for time spent by council staff undertaking monitoring inspections and reporting on compliance.

Regional/impact monitoring charge

The regional/impact monitoring schedule of charges relate to broader state of the environment monitoring and management of resources. Council recovers approximately 25% of the cost of providing this service from resource users (consent holders).

We are proposing to increase charges by 1.9% to allow for inflation.

Building Act Charges

There are no changes to the Building Act Charges from the 2015/2016 policy.