Regional council approves draft annual plan
Thursday, 10 March 2011 4:30 p.m.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council today approved its draft annual plan. The plan sets out the Regional Council's proposed activities for the 2011/2012 financial year, and how those activities will be funded.
Chairman John Cronin said the Council had considered the recent economic environment when it agreed to a draft annual plan that proposes reducing its spending from $100 million (initially proposed in its Ten Year Plan) to $82.6 million.
"We have been very prudent in calculating our overall income and spending this year, and how much will need to come from rates. We have decided to keep our rates increase low.
"Overall we're planning to increase our total rates income by just 1.86 percent," Mr Cronin said.
More than a third ($30.4 million) of the Regional Council's estimated income of $80.6 million will come from investment income.
"Our regional ratepayers will again benefit enormously from our shareholdings in Quayside Holdings Ltd, our investment company," Mr Cronin said.
Quayside holds majority shares in the Port of Tauranga and also manages investments following the issue of Perpetual Preference Shares (PPS).
"Without our investment income and reserves, our rates would be much higher," Mr Cronin said.
Savings have been made across Council's activities, including a decrease of $2.2 million from the Tauranga passenger transport programme, as a result of contract savings.
Major projects planned for the year include a continuing focus on restoring and protecting the Rotorua lakes water quality, developing an integrated management approach for Tauranga Harbour, improving Rotorua's air quality and working towards improved land management across the region.
The Regional Council also has major responsibilities in such diverse areas as civil defence and emergency management, ensuring public transport is accessible and well provided for, and monitoring and managing physical and natural resources such as geothermal fields, water quality and the allocation of freshwater resources.
Proposed changes to the programme for the year include:
• additional resourcing to continue the development of an integrated management approach for Tauranga Harbour, reflecting a commitment made last year
• no dairy discharge rate for Rotorua farmers
• providing a $100,000 grant to the Animal Health Board for bovine tuberculosis control
• no HazMobile collections due to a reduced need for the service
• funding infrastructure projects directly instead of running a contestable Regional Infrastructure Fund. Projects funded include $1.96 million for the lakes Rotoiti and Rotoma sewerage schemes and $1.75 million to secure state highway routes in the eastern Bay of Plenty
• additional funding of $150,000 to investigate further the effects of diverting the Kaituna River into Maketu Estuary as part of implementing the Kaituna/Maketu Strategy
• a delay in adopting the second Regional Policy Statement, following earlier decisions providing more time
• savings of more than $2 million from the public transport budget. There will be no changes to levels of service
• an 18 month delay in developing the next regional land transport strategy, and a parallel delay in completing the region's public transport plan
• additional resources of $232,000 for regional economic development.
Targeted rates are again proposed for providing passenger transport, helping to reduce air quality problems in Rotorua, restoring and protecting Rotorua lakes and providing and maintaining flood management and drainage schemes.
In conjunction with the annual plan process the council is consulting on proposed changes to both resource management charges (Resource Management Act section 36 Charges Policy) and Port Charges, both of which are being updated to reflect inflation.
In addition, the regional council is consulting on a revised Policy on Remission and Postponement of Rates. Two current policies will be amalgamated, and a new provision will be added for managing new environmental loan repayment schemes. From 2011/2012 this will assist with administering the Rotorua Hot Swap (clean heat) loan.
The draft Annual Plan and proposed charges and policies will be available from 25 March for the public to make submissions. Copies are available from Bay of Plenty Regional Council offices, via the website www.boprc.govt.nz or by phoning 0800 884 880. Submissions close on 26 April 2011.
Examples of Bay of Plenty Regional Council rates for 2011/2012
To provide an idea of what the rates will mean in monetary terms, the following samples are provided. These are GST inclusive and based on the median land value at various locations within the Bay of Plenty.
Ōpōtiki (land value $121,000) - residents'
rates are $99.98 for 2011/2012, an increase of $11.09 on last year.
For the average property total rates will be $1.92 per week.
Whakatāne (land value $180,000) - residents' rates are $114.34 for 2011/2012, an increase of $15.12 on last year. For the average property total rates will be $2.19 per week.
Rotorua (land value $82,000) - residents' rates are $247.64 for 2011/2012, a decrease of $13.84 on last year. For the average property total rates will be $4.76 per week.
Tauranga (land value $200,000) - residents' rates are $170.00 for 2011/2012, an increase of $1.52 on last year. For the average property total rates will cost $3.27 per week.
Western Bay of Plenty (land value $310,000) - residents' rates are $136.93 for 2011/2012, an increase of $12.14 on last year. For the average property total rates will cost $2.63 per week.
Kawerau (land value $39,000) - residents' rates are $79.64 for 2011/2012, an increase of $8.24 on last year. For the average property total rates will cost $1.53 per week.
For further media information contact Yvonne Rooney, Senior
Communications Advisor on 021 289 8380
Or John Cronin, Chair, 07 578 0001 or 021 578 001.