2.99% Dunedin rates rise

Despite an extra $100,000 of spending approved this week, the Dunedin City Council scraped in under its self-imposed 3% target for rates rises for the next financial year.

Aaron Hawkins
Aaron Hawkins

The council approved a budget that will see ratepayers asked for an extra 2.99% for 2017-18.

Annual plan deliberations ended yesterday, after councillors spent a day and a-half discussing spending for the year ahead.

The only major changes affecting ratepayers were an extra $100,000 approved for two projects, changes that came after staff found a further $100,000 in savings.

The council’s environment strategy received an additional $50,000 to reduce carbon emissions and enhance Dunedin’s environment, after public support during feedback sessions.

Councillors also supported a call from Cr Aaron Hawkins for a study of the city’s district heating scheme, at a cost of $50,000.

The study into efficient heating options for the central city will be completed before central city infrastructure planning so a possible new heating scheme could be installed at the same time.

The council’s financial strategy has set a limit of 3% on rates rises unless there are ‘‘exceptional circumstances’’. Council senior management accountant Carolyn Allan told the meeting the rates increase would not exceed that despite the extra spending.

Since January, staff had found savings of $100,000.

Mayor Dave Cull said $1 million promised to Football South for artificial turf would not affect rates because it was estimated repayments of capital and interest would be covered by income from hiring the facility, and savings in maintenance on grass fields used less.

Mr Cull said some people had reservations about the annual plan process, which featured feedback meetings rather than formal submissions this year, before full submissions are brought back for the long-term plan next year.

But he said the council had engaged with the public well, and arrived at a figure under the 3% limit.

It was pleasing to keep faith with the community, and keep that promise, he said.

Final sign-off is expected by the council in late June.


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