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Otago regional councillors will soon consider whether they want to go ahead with a planned 18% rates rise next year.
Next month, councillors would see draft budgets for next year’s work programme.
‘‘I think what we’re hoping for is a steer from you about the rate increase,’’ Mrs Gardner said.
Council corporate services general manager Nick Donnelly and corporate planning manager Mike Roesler led councillors through the council’s $106 million work programme for year 2 of the council’s long-term plan at a public workshop last week.
The two-hour staff presentation provided an overview of the work planned for next year across the extent of council activities.
At present, the council was going through a ‘‘step change’’ in the amount of work it did, Mr Donnelly said.
And in every area - regional leadership ($23 million), environment ($28 million), safety and resilience ($19 million) and transport ($36 million) - spending was due to increase again.
The increase in work at the council has been propelled by a review from Environment Minister David Parker in 2019 and increasing expectations from Government.
And the council’s $20 million increase in spending this year is due to be followed by another $8.3 million increase next year.
After the recap, Cr Kevin Malcolm, who chaired the workshop, said ‘‘by crikey, we’ve got a lot on’’.
‘‘We’ve certainly got a lot of challenges before us, we’ve got a lot of growth happening, but we can see there’s a lot of action happening as well.’’
Cr Hilary Calvert called on councillors to identify anything they might want for next year, now.
‘‘If you’ve got ideas, don’t just spring them on people,’’ Cr Calvert said.
‘‘It turns out we don’t budget with a little bit of money set aside to do that with. Any ideas - good, bad, indifferent - let’s have them now.’’
Cr Michael Deaker said given the rates increase of this year and what was projected for next year, ‘‘we’ve got to be both merciful and prudent in equal quantities’’.
‘‘And stick to what we’ve got, stick to what we’re doing, and an ‘idea’ would have to be brought about by an emergency, and not by a wish,’’ he said.
Cr Kate Wilson said the amount of money the council had put aside ($200,000) to support catchment groups might not be enough, given the growth in the number of those groups since the council’s catchment support advisory group was established last year.
The number of catchment groups had recently doubled, she said.