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Internal efficiencies mean lower rate rise for Regional Council

Thursday, 13 March 2014 4:00 p.m.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s proposed general rates rise means an average increase per property of $2 per year, depending on where you live.

The Council’s Draft Annual Plan for 2014/15, adopted yesterday for public submissions, is based on Year Three of its Ten Year Plan. It sets out the Council’s key programmes and projects for the coming year, how much they will cost and where funding will come from, Chairman Doug Leeder said.

“A lower increase than we had predicted for this year has been possible because of the Regional Council’s considerable savings made by implementing internal efficiencies.”

Targeted rates will continue for four specific areas of work – passenger transport in Tauranga and Rotorua urban areas, Rotorua Lakes, Rotorua air in the city’s urban area and river and drainage schemes. Targeted rates ensure those who benefit from or create the need for services also pay for them.

Mr Leeder said some things had changed since the Ten Year Plan was adopted in 2012, including the level of Central Government funding for key programmes and projects, and changes to compliance requirements and obligations under the Council’s core legislation.

“In some cases the main driver for change is community expectations for us to take action and respond to emerging issues. Our regional leadership role continues to grow, and some of our work programmes reflect that, including Water Management, Regional Monitoring, Tauranga Harbour and Integrated Planning,” he said.

Another component of that leadership was helping to fund new infrastructure projects throughout the region, and the Council expected to see significant progress on several projects.

“Despite change and uncertainty in our operating environment, we expect 2014/15 to be ‘business as usual’ for many of our activities. We’ll continue to restore water quality in the Rotorua Lakes, maintain river and drainage schemes in the eastern Bay of Plenty, clean up Kopeopeo Canal and enhance passengers’ experience on our passenger transport networks.”

The Council is proposing operating expenditure of $95.5 million, which would allow for more spending in specific areas such as water management, while reducing spending in other areas to reflect internal efficiency savings. The Council would continue to use investment income to reduce general rates while maintaining levels of service, Mr Leeder said.

The Draft Annual Plan is open for submissions from 17 March until 4pm on 17 April 2014. Submitters can use online submissions or paper forms. Copies of the Draft Annual Plan and the summary are available on the Regional Council’s website www.boprc.govt.nz or from Regional Council offices.

Ends

Draft AP cover