Council spending creeping up to nearly $190 million

The Dunedin City Council’s capital spending could increase in the next year by about $30 million more than had been expected.

A $189.5 million capital programme has been put to councillors for discussion and it includes larger increases than had been budgeted for Three Waters and refurbishment of property, such as the Dunedin Civic Centre.

However, planned construction of the South Dunedin library and community complex has been delayed, likely until 2025.

A planned capital spend of almost $190million for the 2022-23 financial year has been described by council staff as "very ambitious".

Managers felt confident they could deliver near that level without compromising quality. An upgrade to the civic centre is primarily about improving the weather-tightness of the building.

The project cost has been affected by the need to manage asbestos found in window cavities.

The council also signalled redeveloping Moana Pool will cost more than the $21 million that was budgeted in the 2021-31 long-term plan.

A delay in building the South Dunedin library and community complex at the corner of King Edward St and Macandrew Rd came after failing to relocate the Community Care Trust. The trust supports adults and young people with intellectual disabilities and with autistic spectrum disorders in Otago and Southland.

The council does not want to lose the service from the city and the trust’s lease does not expire until the end of January 2025.

Annual plan deliberations start next week.

The draft budget includes operating expenditure of $348.2 million. Debt was forecast to be at $412 million by July 2023, but it could go to $428 million.

Council staff said this would be driven by the planned rise in capital expenditure, plus higher interest rates.

"As indicated in the March 2022 financial reporting, there will be upward pressure of interest rates in the coming months as the Reserve Bank increases the official cash rate to manage inflationary pressures and the elevated level of economic activity."

The proposed rates rise is 6.5%.

--  grant.miller@odt.co.nz

 

 

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