Welcome to the Clutha District Council's online newsletter. It's distributed after council meetings and aims to keep our ratepayers and residents more informed about the decisions that were made during the meeting and any other timely information. If you haven't already subscribed, it's easy to sign up via our online newsletters webpage.
At the 6 April Council meeting, councillors received an investment plan to manage the proceeds from the sale of some forestry assets earlier this year. Council has reviewed its forestry portfolio on the basis that forestry is an investment and getting the best return for our ratepayers is critical. Late last year, Mayor Bryan Cadogan said the sale of forestry was another example of Council's determination to pursue efficiencies and the intention was the proceeds of the sale would be ring-fenced to help offset rates for generations to come. The tender proceeds of $6.6 million, less forestry debt and costs, left around $5 million available for investment. Following the adoption of the investment plan at this most recent Council meeting, elected members agreed to withdrawing 3% or around $150,000 a year to subsidise rates annually - this equates to approximately $10 off the UAGC. The subsidy is of course dependent on how market conditions are affecting the investment, but provides for the fund growing at least at the rate of inflation, whilst still providing income to offset rates.
Council approved the consultation material for this year's Annual Plan. The 2017/18 Annual Plan includes lower rates revenue and less internal debt for Council, compared with the forecast in 2015's Long Term Plan that looks 10 years ahead. Annual Plans are completed every year and the are the mechanism for Council to achieve its Long Term Plan objectives - they identify activities and the resources needed to deliver them. Feedback opens on 12 April and runs for a month until 12 May. All the information will be available on our website soon, including an online feedback form.
This year's plan includes some changes to Council's work programme, mainly around the timing of projects. However, some new projects have been identified, including a switch to LED street lighting. This follows confirmation that central government will fund 85% of the cost, so while converting the district's 1,500 streetlights would cost an estimated $1 million, Clutha District ratepayers will only pay $150,000 towards it. The benefit is the LED lights will cost less to run and maintain and have less outages because LEDs last longer.
Other projects are sewerage improvements to help meet resource consent requirements, as well as budgets to fund projects in our parks and reserves that were identified in our recent Reserve Management Plan consultation. With confirmation of a funding contribution from NZTA, we will also be repairing the Hina Hina Bridge to keep it fully functioning. The bridge has deteriorated over a number of years and has had severe weight restrictions in place for safety reasons. Locally the bridge is considered a critical link to Jack's Bay and once repairs are completed, it will be open to vehicles weighing up to 44 tonnes - including emergency service vehicles and general farming traffic. The work will mean closures that we will keep you informed about. You can also tell us how you think the demolition of the Kaitangata Hall should be funded and what you think of additional money being provided for the 'Working in Clutha' project that connects employers and job-seekers in the district. So, don't forget to have your say.
Fees & Charges
You can also provide feedback on our 2017/18 Schedule of Fees & Chargesbetween 12 April and 12 May. It contains an amalgamation of the various fees and charges across Council activities and services. For the majority of areas they have increased from the previous year by the standard inflationary adjustment. The Schedule will be available on our website shortly but some of the proposed changes you may be interested in include: A new charge of $100 for long term campers, a micro-chipping charge of $50 for non-working dogs (this is a new service being offered), some changes to food premises charges, zero charges for internet use or word processing at libraries, and a reduction in official information charges. One significant change being highlighted is the proposal to increase building consent fees. This is required because fee revenue has not been meeting funding policy targets meaning rates would have to subsidise the activity. The proposal suggests a one-off significant increase or smaller increases over 3 years with a rates subsidy included.
Local Governance Statement
Council received the Local Governance Statement report and agreed to make it publicly available as per section 40 of the Local Government Act. This information is primarily about how the business of the Council is performed, management structure, Council policies and more. In the past this was published as a hardcopy but the introduction of the new website in 2015 means we can have dedicated webpage instead, as is best practice in this area.
Contracts have been awarded for the following projects:
Contract 734 - Heriot and Kaitangata wastewater treatment plant upgrades. This is to add further treatment to the Heriot and Kaitangata oxidation ponds in order to meet new consent conditions.
Contract 744 - Pavement rehabilitation in West Clutha. This tender was awarded for the sum of $304,000 , which is 39% below the available budget amount. Any surplus funds will be evaluated at the end of the fiscal year and reallocated for the 2017/18 year.
Contract 752 - Glenkenich Rural Water Scheme Reticulation upgrades. The budget for this is $300,000 and is expected to cost $280,000.
Contract 753 - Northumberland St sewer upgrade, Bushyhill St and Oxford St stormwater upgrades.
Chief Executive Steve Hill formally recorded Council's recognition of project officer Paul Slattery's service who has resigned after more than 40 years of working in the water area for Council. His contribution has been immense and his knowledge and approach to trouble shooting problems will be missed.
Welcome New Citizens
A citizenship ceremony was held during the meeting. Pictured here with Mayor Bryan Cadogan are: (From left to right) Iese Numia, Anton Van Schalkwyck, Elmari Van Schalkwyk, Edgardo Ogorida, Nicole Ogorida and Dolores Ogorida. Congratulations on becoming New Zealand citizens.