Rate hikes, debt and asset sales proposed for Dunedin

Dunedin faces significant rates rises and increased debt over the next 10 years as the city council considers what it is calling an ambitious spending programme for the city.

The council is also planning to sell off assets to invest in the city.

The draft 10-year plan for Dunedin was released today before meetings next week to begin the process of discussion and public consultation before councillors decide on a final version.

The plan said the council had been focusing on paying down debt and limiting rates increases.

"We didn't do many new things and we concentrated on getting our house in order and making sure we had the right structures in place.

"This 10 year plan is different as we've built a strong foundation and we're now in position to invest and do the things we've talked about for years.''

The plan includes capital investment of $854 million over 10 years.

That will include $38 million for stormwater improvements and flood alleviation in South Dunedin and Mosgiel, a new city to waterfront connection at a cost of $20 million, and below- and above-ground infrastructure in the central city at a cost of $60 million.

"To pay for everything that's currently included in the draft budgets, we will need to increase rates and raise more debt.

"To make sure we don't borrow too much, we'll focus our investment in assets and infrastructure in Dunedin and sell assets that are outside of Dunedin.''

Rates rises in the draft budget are set for 6.9% next year, and an annual increase of 4.5% for the next nine years.

Debt is set to increase by $68 million in the next 10 years, with $63 million of assets to be sold.

See the Otago Daily Times tomorrow for thorough coverage.


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How about 3% rates increase cap promised on local election

6.9 followed by a minimum 4.5 for 9 years?
It's time to cull Cull and his cronies from this council.
Yes we need investment, but at that cost?
Save money by forgoing the ridiculous and failed cycleways for a start

The way this is presented amounts to spin. If our past elected reps had told local ratepayers that all the non-essential, 'think big' projects of the last fifteen years or so would inevitably eventually result in increased debt and higher rates, I am sure the vast majority of ratepayers would have vetoed such expenditure. That is, if ratepayers had had the chance or the power, which they did not, despite central government passing laws to try to reign in local government spending. Now the DCC (having spent and borrowed too much on non-essentials) needs to find the money to catch up on neglected essential infrastructure work. Which, if they had been prudent, is what they would have prioritized. And worse - slipped in there amongst the necessary infrastructure upgrades is another 'think big' project - namely the city- to- waterfront connection, which seems to be on the cards as a gold-plated, 'visionary' version, instead of something functional. Looks like the stadium all over again and woe to supposed 'naysayers' and 'haters' like me - they will be shouted down. My only hope is that eventually central government will deal more decisively with local government financial imprudence.

Hands up all those earning less than 30,000 pa who had a 6.9% increase this year.

An election must happen soon we need a vote of no confidence for these clowns,they have got to go.

Funding these things wd be easier with a larger population and a population who earn significantly higher wages than we do in Dunedin.

In its strategic plans, the DCC promises and aims for thousands of extra residents and greatly increased incomes for Dn residents.

Can the DCC please tell us HOW it will achieve these goals? What is it doing in 2018 and 2019 move us towards population, business and income Growth?
With those promises being achieved, these very significant rates increases would not be so biting.

Its about time this council learnt to live within their means. I cannot afford a hike like that in my rates. They need to look at their budget.

Thats a 47.4% increase in rates over the next 10 years. who can afford that. DO these people not understand that they to will have to pay this increase. Or now that they are the power have they so soon forgotten their promises to us who voted for them to rain in spending. Get rid of the fancy bridge idea for walkers and bikes there $20 million saving for a start.Theres already two bridges what makes them think we need a 3rd. Make the churches and Uni pay rates that will bring in a heck of a lot of money. Make the govt pay rates on the schools around Dunedin thats more rates money saving the rate payers of Dunedin some of that increase. Time to stop thinking about making their mark on Dunedin and to start thinking about fixing whats wrong not adding to city debt. If they cant do that then leave and let someone else in who can. And above all do not borrow more money until we have paid back what we already own. Any home owner will tell you borrowing on top of borrowing is the fastest way to get in trouble

So council wants to increase our rates by 6.9% next year and then a further 4.5% MINIMUM for each of the next 9 years? How happy are other ratepayers to have their annual rates bill increase by 58.8% over 10 years?

Given the average inflation rate in New Zealand over the past 5 years has been only 1%, even if the rate of inflation doubled for the next 10 years this would only lead to a price rise of 23.2%. I suggest that the population of Dunedin sends these clowns back to their circus and vote in new councillors who are actually willing to listen to their constituents.

In another article the council has earmarked $20 million for tertiary area upgrades. Considering the university doesn't pay any rates, why are upgrades being planned for their area? Are they not capable of undertaking their own upgrades with the monies they should have been paying in rates?

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