Residents are set to have their say on a proposed 3%
rates rise after the Dunedin City Council approved its draft
budget for public consultation yesterday.
However, the move came only after Cr Lee Vandervis questioned
forecasting assumptions underpinning the budget, suggesting
some were being understated.
That included the potential for a sizeable bill from coastal
erosion repair work at the Esplanade at St Clair, and from
the review of Forsyth Barr Stadium already under way, he
His concern came as councillors voted to release the draft
2014-15 budget for a month-long period of public
That was despite concerns raised by Cr Vandervis, who said
the council knew it faced a potentially hefty bill at St
Despite that, the budget predicted only a ''medium'' level of
uncertainty arising from coastal erosion.
Cr Vandervis said that ''severely understates'' the situation
at St Clair, where the council faced ''a high risk of having
to spend an awful lot of unbudgeted money''.
Council infrastructure and networks general manager Tony
Avery said the risk assumptions reflected what the council
already knew, but confirmed a report to be considered at the
next infrastructure services committee meeting would present
more detailed information.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said it was also not yet clear when
or if the council would spend money on repairs.
The budget for public consultation was for only the 2014-15
year, and it was possible any spending at St Clair could fall
outside that period, he said.
However, Cr Vandervis also also questioned why the budget
listed the level of uncertainty surrounding Forsyth Barr
Stadium's debt servicing plan as ''low''.
New information - including larger-than-expected losses by
Dunedin Venues Management Ltd - suggested that should be
increased to ''medium'', he said.
The similar low-level risk attached to the state of the
city's stormwater infrastructure should also be reconsidered,
That was because historic under-investment in the city's
stormwater network was only now being addressed by an
increase in renewals spending, and had left the city with a
serious problem, ''not just a low risk one''.
Mr Avery said the council had budgeted to increase spending
in the area, and the budget noted there was a ''low to
medium'' risk of the network's deterioration if the council's
planned spending did not occur.
Council infrastructure services committee chairman Cr Andrew
Noone also reassured the public, and Cr Vandervis, the
council had not been ''irresponsible'' in the management of
Cr Vandervis was among councillors to vote to release the
budget for consultation, saying it was more transparent,
candid and clear than any he had previously seen.