We’re also proposing to defer some large projects to help keep our general spending down.
However, some projects are essential and can’t be delayed, for example we need to continue upgrading our water supplies to meet stricter national drinking water standards.
We want to hear your thoughts about whether we’re on the right track or if you’d like to see further changes.
Our plan to help alleviate impacts of Covid-19 disruption, while also acknowledging the uneven spread of rate increases, was to focus on keeping the average rate increase as low as possible for 2022/23. We’ve done this by reducing the budgets in our day-to-day services where possible. One example of reducing costs includes reviewing the opening hours at EA Networks Centre.
Measures like this on their own have a small effect on the average rate increase but small changes like this across the Council organisation can add up.
To catch-up on our setbacks from the May 2021 floods, we’re planning to use $1.7 million from our forestry reserve to bring our major roading repairs programme forward. The forestry reserve is grown from the Council’s forestry operations. The roading repairs programme is focused on renewing key roads to a standard that minimises future maintenance and avoids having to fill in the same potholes over and over again.
Recognising the sharp increase in inflation in 2021/22, and pressure on the overall budget, we’re proposing to defer some capital projects that we had planned but haven’t started yet. These include a new driveway entrance to the domain, domain promenade, and an upgrade to Balmoral Hall. We’re planning to revisit what we do with these projects over the coming months.
To stay compliant with increasing National Drinking Water Standards, we’ve approved critical work on our water infrastructure. These include the combined treatment plant upgrade for the Methven and Methven Springfield drinking water schemes, a Mount Somers membrane treatment plant, UV treatment upgrades, a second bore for Rakaia and installing new online water treatment instruments. Improved wastewater infrastructure for North West Ashburton and Rakaia is also scheduled.
In 2022/23 we will review our Revenue and Financing Policy to address the funding of the new Methven and Methven-Springfield treatment plant. Interest costs of $100,000 (estimated at approximately $11 per property) will be met by the water group (which currently excludes Methven-Springfield).