The Dunedin City Council hopes more funding to
investigate potential savings initiatives could create a
snowball effect that benefits ratepayers.
Councillors at yesterday's draft annual plan meeting approved
a new $50,000 budget - subject to public consultation - for
council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose to allocate to
investigate potential savings.
The money would fund the investigation of potential ''invest
to save'' initiatives like last year's decision to invest
$1.1 million of savings bringing forward the introduction of
radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in Dunedin's
That decision meant the council would not have to borrow to
fund the project, as planned, in 2016-17, and also generate
annual savings expected to grow to $280,000 a year by then.
Deputy mayor Chris Staynes suggested the fund, saying the
council needed to pursue similar initiatives which could lead
to potential savings that would benefit ratepayers.
Without a budget for the initial investigative work, the
council was ''starting to cut off our nose to spite our
face'', he warned.
Dr Bidrose said, if the money was available, the initial
$50,000 had ''the potential to be a self-perpetuating fund'',
with some of the savings reinvested to help find more.
However, larger sums required to act on any opportunities
identified would need to be signed off separately by
councillors, she said.
Yesterday's debate began when Cr Jinty MacTavish expressed
concern potential savings from greater energy efficiency were
not being pursued.
That followed last year's departure of council energy manager
Neville Auton, who had led initiatives in that area, and
reflected a lack of funding for the work in the council's
budget, she said.
''For me, that gives me cause for concern, because I think
we're missing out on potential savings as a result,'' she
A staff report presented yesterday predicted annual savings
of $57,000 once the Civic Centre switched to energy efficient
lighting by June.
A lower-than-expected subsidy from the Energy Efficiency and
Conservation Authority meant the planned upgrade of the
central city library could not be done within the $365,000
Mayor Dave Cull told the meeting the potential for savings in
the area was nevertheless ''very significant'', so it was
''imprudent not to continue to invest in that area''.
Dr Bidrose said the lack of funding reflected cost-cutting
across the council, but individual managers were now expected
to be more conscious of energy efficiency and the potential
Councillors also voted to support Cr MacTavish's request for
a staff report detailing funding needed for future energy
efficiency improvements and invest-to-save options within the
She also asked for more information on funding required to
implement the council's new city-wide energy strategy, once