Another year of stadium rate

A night time shot of the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo by ODT.
A night time shot of the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo by ODT.
Unexpected ''interest changes'' mean Otago ratepayers will face another year of paying a special rate for Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium.

A targeted rate to help pay for the Otago Regional Council's $37.5 million contribution to the stadium was due to end in June.

For the past six years, targeted rates of $2.8 million a year have gone straight into council reserves to repay the $10 million loan the council took out to help pay its stadium contribution.

However, a report outlining the proposed draft annual plan 2014-15 to be considered by the council's finance committee tomorrow, says ''due to interest changes over the period of borrowings'', the targeted rate needed to continue to repay a final $550,000.

That meant the coming year's draft plan would include a stadium targeted rate, although less than previous years.

For a property with a capital value of $250,000 in Dunedin, the targeted rate had been about $12.70; in the coming year, it was likely to be an estimated $6.02.

As well as the stadium rate continuing, ratepayers could also face a proposed 2.49% increase in the general rate.

However, targeted rates made up most of the council's rate bill, with increases proposed on eight activities; three were to decrease and seven would remain unchanged.

One to potentially increase was the Dunedin transport rate, which could go up as little as 0.84% or as much as 8.64%, a report to the committee said.

The committee, which has already discussed the issue in a non-public workshop, has to decide which option it preferred to deal with the expiry of the Harbourside and City Routes 1 bus services on June 30 and issues with the Corstorphine service.

The most expensive option involved negotiating contract extensions to the Harbourside services, which would see services per week increasing from 65 to 82 for Port Chalmers, 56 to 69 for the Peninsula service and 77 to 89 for Waverley.

For city routes contracts, the Garden Village service would go from 48 to 73, Roslyn reduce from 102 to 68 and Corstorphine would move to a similar timetable to before the July 2013 route changes.

The cheaper options involved only negotiating changes to the Corstorphine services or only the changes to Corstorphine, Roslyn, Garden Village and Waverley services.

Whatever option the committee chose, New Zealand Transport Agency approval was needed, the report said.

The draft annual plan included funding for the cheaper options requiring a 0.84% increase, taking into consideration a $100,000 ''rates smoothing input'' from the transport reserve and $210,000 from grants.

Increases in targeted rates for those in the Leith, lower Taieri and lower Clutha flood and drainage scheme areas were also going up to allow for scheduled work, including $1.4 million on a new outfall structure for the Paretai drainage network and refurbishment of the Smith Rd pump station and $5 million on flood protection on the Water of Leith between Dundas and St David Sts.

On the positive side, targeted rates for those in high air pollution areas, including Alexandra, Arrowtown and Milton, were estimated to get a 60% decrease in their clean air rate as the council was planning less work in that area.

Recommendations from the committee on the draft annual plan will go through to the full council meeting on March 12 to be approved before going out for public consultation.


ORC draft annual plan
The proposals

• 2.49% general rate increase.

• Uniform annual general charge to drop from $13.82 to $13.76.

• Targeted rates overall decrease 21% to $8.5 million.

• Targeted stadium rate continues for another year.

• Targeted Clean Air rates decrease about 60%.

• Focus on Water Plan 6A water quality and 1C water quantity.

• New biodiversity strategy proposed.

• Proposal to work with other South Island councils on pest management.

• $8 million to be spent on flood and drainage schemes.

• $900,000 on stock effluent disposal sites.


Targeted rates

It's shocking what these councillors get away with. They add more and more money on to those affected by 'targeted rates' to help pay for some of their pet projects. Like the stadium. I lived in NEV for nine years and I had to pay ORC targeted rates for a flood protection scheme that has never been started.When I moved to the Taieri in 2007, my ORC rates then were $500. A few months later they were $700. Now according to ORC rates online, the new owners of that property are paying  $1090. Now they are expecting another huge increase. 

No stadium direction for the future?

MikeStk: In the DVL 2013 Annual Report there is no mention of a 5 year plan, nor even a 1 year plan. In the DVML 2013 report there is no mention of a 5 year plan, nor even a 1 year plan. The stadium no longer employs a full-time commercial/marketing manager. The last one is being paid to live in Australia. Both Annual Reports are abysmally poor examples of only reporting on past events, instead of on both past and future. How any director sign off such a document without one positive word about the stadium's future? Time for a shake-up of the directorship's by the City Council ? 

Draft Plan 2014-2015

I got my draft plan in the mail today and was pleased to see Council will sell what it calls non-strategic property assets to minimise the impact of the stadium on ratepayers. Council are looking at a review which will look into risks, scenarios and options so that a permanent solution to the funding of the stadium can be found. They say they are finally looking for accurate information, I do hope they share that information with ratepayers and put an end to the spin doctoring and creative accounting we have suffered through for the past two years. Sad to see Dunedin spends only 4% on economic development and city promotion when it spends 5% on sport and recreation. According to Mayor Cull we have a consolidated debt of $622 million, which is a big number when divided between so few ratepayers. Getting rid of this debt is crucial if Dunedin is to thrive in the coming years.

Soak the ratepayers

Trev: as far as I can tell the only viable plan they have is to raise rates so they can pay the bills. So long as rugby fans refuse to pay enough for their tickets to cover the cost of running the rugby stadium the ratepayers will have to pay and pay, or close the venue to save money.

I learned today that the money from luxury seat sales, the money that was supposed to pay down $50m of the rugby stadium's capital cost at $5m a year, has instead been used to keep DVML afloat, and even then they are losing  money. The CST promised us a small operating profit but is seems that either there was no real plan, or maybe he just assumed that rugby would pay its way.

Stadium 5 year plan?

There have been many questions asked and many suggestions made about the stadium's future. There were projected 5 year plans made pre-construction to justify the project. Is there a current 5 year plan? Does anybody know? Can the Directors indicate where the current 5 year plan can be seen by the public? Or is there no plan for the future of this building? They have a highly paid marketing person. Does he/she have a plan?

We were assured lots

And as you already know, Mike, those assurances have proven to be just as the "naysayers" predicted. And that would be not worth the paper they were written on.

I'm just waiting for the problems with the roof to start. I have been led to beleive the tests for the effect from Ravensdown were make at Carisbrook. Likely another case of the wool being pulled over our eyes. 

There you go then

Well there you go then, another good argument for turning it into a swimming hole. BBQs in the rain and smaller power bills. Could even charge to use the swimming pond. Would make more money then any rugby game in Dunedin, would it not? Sounding better all the time.

How could that be?

Speedfreak: How could that possibly be?  Mr Farry and his CST assured us, they'd spent a bunch of our money and done experiments, there were many column inches spent on pictures of knowing people peering at plastic tents. We have been assured that grass will happily grow under ETFE in Dunedin - are you saying he was wrong about the stadium? 

Can't turn the lights off

If they did, then the grass wouldn't grow. That's the grass they were told wouldn't grow there. With a little research, you will find that the power bill for the stadium is higher than that of the Civic centre.

Turn the lights off?

Maybe they should turn all the lights off each night - that might save the poor old ratespayers a few dollars each year. Copyright the name so every time it's used in the ODT etc the DCC can charge for it. No more silly than building the thing in the first place, I would say.
I still like the idea of turnig it into a new swimming pool. or a swimming hole with picnic area would be better still. With all the rain we get here we could book it out for family bbq under cover when it rains.

Ground Hog Day anyone?

I just keep sighing and wondering why anyone thought this was affordable for a small small city with finite resources.  I would love an enquiry about who made money from all this and who had the power to make decisions and see if there is any cross-over.  Ad infinitum comes to mind with this white elephant.  People want progress and not to be stuck in the past?  All very well, but we ALL have to pay for it and I just regret the day the decision was made to go ahead with this stadium! It has crippled the city financially as well as us poor ratepayers that have to think what is it all for.

yeah who needs clean air anyway

Get used to these "unforseen" rates increases and the associated excuses for them. They, just like the "100 year event" just suffered through in christchurch, are going to be yearly occurances  


Was that more of my money needed for the stadium? But it's only been a week since the last lot. What do they do with it all? And how can I get some of it? back Does anyone think it would make a decent 5 star hotel with a $100 mill refit? What if we gift it to Ms. Song and she shows her gratitude by paying some rates or something.

Different year, same excuse

Last year, you ran this report

The same excuse is trotted out there, that the targeted rate was required for another year, to cover unexpected interest rate changes.

I don't know who the ORC borrows from, but my business interest rates haven't changed in the term of the loan. 


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