Have your say on our proposed Annual Plan 2022-23

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Are Council plans still on the right track?

Kia ora koutou,

These are challenging times for everyone in Otago as we balance what is expected with what is affordable and achievable. Otago Regional Council (ORC) is both catching up on work that communities have said is important, and responding to Government expectations to achieve more for the wellbeing of Otago’s environment and communities.

We made a good start in year one of our 10-year Long Term Plan 2021-31 (LTP), as consulted with our community last year. This plan set a solid forward drive to ramp up work to improve Otago’s air, water, land, biodiversity and public transport. There’s a lot more to be done, so this year’s proposed Annual Plan was designed to keep up the momentum.

Increased ORC work programmes mean increased rates. This year’s draft 18% increase was forecast in last year’s LTP. It’s an average so who pays rates for what across Otago will vary with the value of a property and the services received. Most of our urban households, which make up 80% percent of our ratepayers, would pay an extra $30 to $70 per year. For larger or higher value properties, such as farms or commercial operations, the dollar increase is more significant. Our rating for services like pest management, flood, drainage and river management, and public transport can be a large portion of the rates for those properties. 

We know that many householders and businesses face increased financial and operating pressures, and there is uncertainty regarding the future. So, it is critical for us to explore if sticking to the plan is ORC’s best way forward, keeping in mind significant effort and community input that went into completing the LTP last year. If reducing rates is necessary, what services would we change?

Please note that we have already carefully considered the use of all available funding sources, including investment income, e.g., the Port Otago dividend, and debt, to reduce the need for and impact of rating Otago’s households and businesses. 

Kā mihi nui

Andrew Noone, Otago Regional Council Chairperson



How we fund services

The table below shows the different types of funding used to pay for Council work – totalling $109 million for the proposed Annual Plan.

While all this funding is important it is usually the rates component that grabs attention, providing 43% of the money needed to deliver all services.

Understanding the two types of rates on your bill gives insight on who pays for what. Ratepayers across the region don’t all receive the same service. This is reflected in the rates they pay.

  • General rates are paid by all Otago ratepayers for services where there is perceived benefit to everyone.
  • Targeted rates are paid for service(s) to a specific community (e.g., a district or smaller geographic area). These services might be public transport, flood protection, and drainage.

In a nutshell, people living in different parts of Otago may receive different Council services (targeted rates) depending on the local environment and economic activity where they live – and pay accordingly.


We are proposing to stick to the Financial Strategy consulted with the community last year. The rate income required in the proposed Annual Plan 2022-23 remains unchanged.

It equates to an 18% increase in average total rates (to view a breakdown of the 18% rates increase, click here).

Our total funding has changed and this largely reflects funding from central government for Environmental work.


Proposed total income 2022-23



Proposed total cost 2022-23



What you get for your money

Our proposed Annual Plan 2022-23 delivers a work programme across the following activities.


Environment

Environmental management is at the heart of Otago Regional Council’s work. With our focus on improving the way we do this, we have made good progress on a new regional policy framework, which sets guidance and rules around how resources are used.

Our effort on the ground is increasing, including site enhancement projects; grant-funded programmes; catchment group support; and delivering our Regional Pest Management Plan. Importantly, we are progressing an integrated catchment planning approach - a new way to decide and achieve on the ground results.

Quality information is essential, and we have improved our science and monitoring capacity.

The proposed Annual Plan supports the Long-term Plan work programme, with key points including:

Land and water

  • Progressing the Land and Water Regional Plan review (target: December 2023 notification to the community)
  • Environmental monitoring network and operational work is growing in scale and complexity (e.g., Wetlands, estuaries, water-quality attributes)
  • Science work is supporting the Land and Water Regional Plan review and informing the monitoring programme (e.g., Coastal programme, Impact of land activity)
  • New grant funded enhancement programmes (e.g., Te Hakapupu/ Pleasant River restoration).

Biodiversity and biosecurity

  • Improving knowledge of Otago’s biodiversity to inform monitoring and future work.
  • Supporting catchment initiatives through Eco Fund and government grants (e.g., Jobs for Nature; and Wallabies Pest Contract Management); and education awareness progressively integrated into farm support programmes.
  • Strengthening the regional partnerships with councils, other agencies and Kāi Tahu.
  • Implementing the Regional Pest Management Plan with improved IT systems and work practices including inspections and compliance checks.
  • Continued regional-scale pest and predator projects (e.g., Predator Free Dunedin).

Air quality

  • Reviewing our Air Regional Plan, with an issues and option paper(s) completed by June 2023.
  • Continuing to monitor air quality and pollution.
  • Air quality implementation remains reprioritised until 2023-2024.

Transport

In line with the Long-term Plan, this draft Annual Plan supports improved bus services in Dunedin and Queenstown. Key assumptions are:

  • patronage (including COVID pandemic and visitor number effects)
  • targeted rating on the geographic benefit areas (increases by $1.4 million)
  • low emission technologies (linked to contract renewals and government support/policy
  • Waka Kotahi support for the ‘living wage’ (uncertain); and a national ticketing system (from year 4)

Dunedin Buses:

  • Continuing service improvements aligned with contract renewals with operators.
  • Fare structure (e.g., $2 dollar fares) requires further consideration. The service continues to cost more to run and is creating debt.

Changes to current routes and timetables (e.g., Palmerston-Dunedin) to be considered separately.

Queenstown Buses:

  • Keeping the process of considering infrastructure development and the associated business case on track (year 7-8 LTP).
  • Queenstown Ferry service included in 2022-23.


Safety and Resilience

As with the Long-term Plan, this year’s draft Plan allows for better understanding of Otago’s natural hazards, to educate communities and guide actions. Our priorities for the next 10 years are flood protection, drainage control and river management. Climate change is a critical and related issue.

Points to note include:

Flood protection, drainage and river management

Our long-term Infrastructure Strategy identifies the flood and drainage schemes the Council manages, and highlights key issues that influence the service provided. From these issues we understand:

  • more about how climate change and development impacts catchments
  • improved asset management planning is necessary to see how change impacts the service, and decisions facing Otago communities
  • there is uncertainty about the community’s appetite for risk (e.g., climate change) and the costs associated with maintaining service levels.

The proposed Annual Plan work programme remains consistent with the Long-term Plan. Key work components include:

  • climate change adaptation investigations
  • Taieri and Clutha flood protection scheme reviews
  • flood damage repair and government subsidised resilience works
  • pump station and technology improvements
  • fish passage adaptation investigations
  • core river management functions - control of channel erosion, willow maintenance, vegetation control, removing obstructions, and repairing key erosion works.

Emergency management

The proposed Annual Plan includes an increase of three full-time equivalent staff (from 14 to 17) to the emergency management team.


Regional Leadership

The proposed Annual Plan is consistent with the Long-term Plan that supports:

  • Otago’s elected regional councillors to perform their role
  • Council’s communication and engagement with the community
  • Regulatory work educating and ensuring regional and national rules are followed
  • Overarching strategic planning largely focused on the implications of, and giving feedback on, national direction, policy and key issues.

Fees and Charges

We propose some changes to the scale of hourly charge-out rates for staff time (e.g., consent applications, and the ‘Deposits’ amounts for ‘Publicly notified application deposits’, ‘Deemed permitted activity’, and ‘Section 417 certificates’). The detailed current schedule is available here.

The key changes are listed in the table below:

Scale of Charges
Current
Proposed
Staff time per hour:

Management
$190
$205
Team Leader/Principal
$170
$185
Senior Technical
$150
$165
Technical
$130
$145
Field staff
$130
$145
Administration
$100
$110

Specialist Expert Services

(Science/Hazards/Engineering)


$165


Other amendments to deposits are listed below:

Deposits
Current
Proposed
Publicly Notified Applications Deposit
$10,000
$15,000
Deemed Permitted Activity
(new)
$1,750
Section 417 Certificate
$500
Remove



Are Council plans still on the right track?

Kia ora koutou,

These are challenging times for everyone in Otago as we balance what is expected with what is affordable and achievable. Otago Regional Council (ORC) is both catching up on work that communities have said is important, and responding to Government expectations to achieve more for the wellbeing of Otago’s environment and communities.

We made a good start in year one of our 10-year Long Term Plan 2021-31 (LTP), as consulted with our community last year. This plan set a solid forward drive to ramp up work to improve Otago’s air, water, land, biodiversity and public transport. There’s a lot more to be done, so this year’s proposed Annual Plan was designed to keep up the momentum.

Increased ORC work programmes mean increased rates. This year’s draft 18% increase was forecast in last year’s LTP. It’s an average so who pays rates for what across Otago will vary with the value of a property and the services received. Most of our urban households, which make up 80% percent of our ratepayers, would pay an extra $30 to $70 per year. For larger or higher value properties, such as farms or commercial operations, the dollar increase is more significant. Our rating for services like pest management, flood, drainage and river management, and public transport can be a large portion of the rates for those properties. 

We know that many householders and businesses face increased financial and operating pressures, and there is uncertainty regarding the future. So, it is critical for us to explore if sticking to the plan is ORC’s best way forward, keeping in mind significant effort and community input that went into completing the LTP last year. If reducing rates is necessary, what services would we change?

Please note that we have already carefully considered the use of all available funding sources, including investment income, e.g., the Port Otago dividend, and debt, to reduce the need for and impact of rating Otago’s households and businesses. 

Kā mihi nui

Andrew Noone, Otago Regional Council Chairperson



How we fund services

The table below shows the different types of funding used to pay for Council work – totalling $109 million for the proposed Annual Plan.

While all this funding is important it is usually the rates component that grabs attention, providing 43% of the money needed to deliver all services.

Understanding the two types of rates on your bill gives insight on who pays for what. Ratepayers across the region don’t all receive the same service. This is reflected in the rates they pay.

  • General rates are paid by all Otago ratepayers for services where there is perceived benefit to everyone.
  • Targeted rates are paid for service(s) to a specific community (e.g., a district or smaller geographic area). These services might be public transport, flood protection, and drainage.

In a nutshell, people living in different parts of Otago may receive different Council services (targeted rates) depending on the local environment and economic activity where they live – and pay accordingly.


We are proposing to stick to the Financial Strategy consulted with the community last year. The rate income required in the proposed Annual Plan 2022-23 remains unchanged.

It equates to an 18% increase in average total rates (to view a breakdown of the 18% rates increase, click here).

Our total funding has changed and this largely reflects funding from central government for Environmental work.


Proposed total income 2022-23



Proposed total cost 2022-23



What you get for your money

Our proposed Annual Plan 2022-23 delivers a work programme across the following activities.


Environment

Environmental management is at the heart of Otago Regional Council’s work. With our focus on improving the way we do this, we have made good progress on a new regional policy framework, which sets guidance and rules around how resources are used.

Our effort on the ground is increasing, including site enhancement projects; grant-funded programmes; catchment group support; and delivering our Regional Pest Management Plan. Importantly, we are progressing an integrated catchment planning approach - a new way to decide and achieve on the ground results.

Quality information is essential, and we have improved our science and monitoring capacity.

The proposed Annual Plan supports the Long-term Plan work programme, with key points including:

Land and water

  • Progressing the Land and Water Regional Plan review (target: December 2023 notification to the community)
  • Environmental monitoring network and operational work is growing in scale and complexity (e.g., Wetlands, estuaries, water-quality attributes)
  • Science work is supporting the Land and Water Regional Plan review and informing the monitoring programme (e.g., Coastal programme, Impact of land activity)
  • New grant funded enhancement programmes (e.g., Te Hakapupu/ Pleasant River restoration).

Biodiversity and biosecurity

  • Improving knowledge of Otago’s biodiversity to inform monitoring and future work.
  • Supporting catchment initiatives through Eco Fund and government grants (e.g., Jobs for Nature; and Wallabies Pest Contract Management); and education awareness progressively integrated into farm support programmes.
  • Strengthening the regional partnerships with councils, other agencies and Kāi Tahu.
  • Implementing the Regional Pest Management Plan with improved IT systems and work practices including inspections and compliance checks.
  • Continued regional-scale pest and predator projects (e.g., Predator Free Dunedin).

Air quality

  • Reviewing our Air Regional Plan, with an issues and option paper(s) completed by June 2023.
  • Continuing to monitor air quality and pollution.
  • Air quality implementation remains reprioritised until 2023-2024.

Transport

In line with the Long-term Plan, this draft Annual Plan supports improved bus services in Dunedin and Queenstown. Key assumptions are:

  • patronage (including COVID pandemic and visitor number effects)
  • targeted rating on the geographic benefit areas (increases by $1.4 million)
  • low emission technologies (linked to contract renewals and government support/policy
  • Waka Kotahi support for the ‘living wage’ (uncertain); and a national ticketing system (from year 4)

Dunedin Buses:

  • Continuing service improvements aligned with contract renewals with operators.
  • Fare structure (e.g., $2 dollar fares) requires further consideration. The service continues to cost more to run and is creating debt.

Changes to current routes and timetables (e.g., Palmerston-Dunedin) to be considered separately.

Queenstown Buses:

  • Keeping the process of considering infrastructure development and the associated business case on track (year 7-8 LTP).
  • Queenstown Ferry service included in 2022-23.


Safety and Resilience

As with the Long-term Plan, this year’s draft Plan allows for better understanding of Otago’s natural hazards, to educate communities and guide actions. Our priorities for the next 10 years are flood protection, drainage control and river management. Climate change is a critical and related issue.

Points to note include:

Flood protection, drainage and river management

Our long-term Infrastructure Strategy identifies the flood and drainage schemes the Council manages, and highlights key issues that influence the service provided. From these issues we understand:

  • more about how climate change and development impacts catchments
  • improved asset management planning is necessary to see how change impacts the service, and decisions facing Otago communities
  • there is uncertainty about the community’s appetite for risk (e.g., climate change) and the costs associated with maintaining service levels.

The proposed Annual Plan work programme remains consistent with the Long-term Plan. Key work components include:

  • climate change adaptation investigations
  • Taieri and Clutha flood protection scheme reviews
  • flood damage repair and government subsidised resilience works
  • pump station and technology improvements
  • fish passage adaptation investigations
  • core river management functions - control of channel erosion, willow maintenance, vegetation control, removing obstructions, and repairing key erosion works.

Emergency management

The proposed Annual Plan includes an increase of three full-time equivalent staff (from 14 to 17) to the emergency management team.


Regional Leadership

The proposed Annual Plan is consistent with the Long-term Plan that supports:

  • Otago’s elected regional councillors to perform their role
  • Council’s communication and engagement with the community
  • Regulatory work educating and ensuring regional and national rules are followed
  • Overarching strategic planning largely focused on the implications of, and giving feedback on, national direction, policy and key issues.

Fees and Charges

We propose some changes to the scale of hourly charge-out rates for staff time (e.g., consent applications, and the ‘Deposits’ amounts for ‘Publicly notified application deposits’, ‘Deemed permitted activity’, and ‘Section 417 certificates’). The detailed current schedule is available here.

The key changes are listed in the table below:

Scale of Charges
Current
Proposed
Staff time per hour:

Management
$190
$205
Team Leader/Principal
$170
$185
Senior Technical
$150
$165
Technical
$130
$145
Field staff
$130
$145
Administration
$100
$110

Specialist Expert Services

(Science/Hazards/Engineering)


$165


Other amendments to deposits are listed below:

Deposits
Current
Proposed
Publicly Notified Applications Deposit
$10,000
$15,000
Deemed Permitted Activity
(new)
$1,750
Section 417 Certificate
$500
Remove


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Page last updated: 09 May 2022, 08:15 AM