Regional Council holds rate increase in Annual Plan
Thursday, 26 June 2014 2:00 p.m.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has held its rate increase to an average of $2 a year for average properties in its Annual Plan.
The Annual Plan for 2014/15 was adopted by the Regional Council today, based on Year Three of its Ten Year Plan 2012-2022. The Plan sets out what activities the Council will undertake and how they will be paid for.
Chairman Doug Leeder said the Council’s budget-setting process and internal efficiencies meant it was in a position to confirm a significantly lower general rates increase than the 7.5 percent it had originally forecast in the Ten Year Plan.
The Council received 84 written submissions, 49 of which were heard by the Council over two days in May, and also consulted on four other Statements of Proposal.
“As a result of submissions we made a number of changes before this Annual Plan was finalised. The Council has listened to feedback, and has worked hard to hold the rates increase while increasing spending on some work programmes and providing grants to assist some external organisations,” Mr Leeder said.
“The general rates increase has been held at 3 percent, the same as proposed in the draft Plan. Targeted rates will continue for four specific areas of work – passenger transport in Tauranga and Rotorua, Rotorua lakes, Rotorua urban air quality and for regional river and drainage schemes.”
The Council’s priorities for the coming year are Tauranga Harbour and catchment, the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme, its Water Management Programme and flood risk and river scheme sustainability, Mr Leeder said.
The Council has also agreed to fund:
- $250,000 to Opotiki District Council to help it gain Central Government funding for the Opotiki Harbour Transformation Project.
- $60,000 for Envirohub (Tauranga Environment Centre) to complete its Regional Environmental Network Project.
- Agreed to assist with home insulation, exploring and implementing new programme initiatives, including partnering with EECA’s Warm-Up NZ programme
- Increased funding ($385,000 total) for dredging of the Opureora Channel between Omokoroa and Matakana Island.
- Increased funding for delivery of the SmartGrowth work programme, in particular the Settlement Pattern Review.
- Made grants to Surf Lifesaving New Zealand ($12,000), Tauranga Arts Festival ($10,000 towards a Luminarium attraction in 2015) and Creative Tauranga ($25,000 towards public artworks at the Domain Road interchange of the new Eastern Link highway).
- Additional Bay of Connections funding of $30,000 for the Cycling and Tourism Marketing Network.
“Overall we’ve budgeted for operating expenditure of $93 million in 2014/15, which allows for more spending in areas such as water management, while reducing spending in other areas to keep our costs down,” Mr Leeder said.
“We are also focusing on internal efficiencies, and using our investment income to reduce general rates while maintaining levels of service consistent with our Ten Year Plan.”