40% trim for council year spend

The Queenstown Lakes District Council will be asked to approve a 40% reduction in budgeted capital works spending in the current financial year.

In a report for this Thursday’s full council meeting, property and infrastructure manager Pete Hansby recommended the $294.4million budget in the 2020-21 annual plan be reduced by $117.2million to $177.2million.

Mr Hansby said the original $186million budget for the financial year was increased to $294million as a result of $68million in deferred spending from the year before, $37million in Government funding for the first stage of an arterial bypass of Queenstown’s town centre and street upgrades, and another $1million from the Provincial Growth Fund for community facility upgrades.

Budgeted spending on transport projects had been revised downwards by $30.5million, of which $13million related to the arterials and upgrades projects, and $5.4million to the resort’s town centre public transport hub.

Infrastructure projects had a revised recommended budget of $44.8million, a net reduction of $36.1million from the 2020-21 adjusted annual plan.

There was a $47.3million drop in the budget for other capital projects, the majority as a result of "timing variances", while design changes in the council’s Lakeview redevelopment had "slowed the speed of the programme" and resulted in the deferral of $11.2million to the future long-term plan.

Noting it was the first revision of forecasted capital spending this financial year, Mr Hansby said the overall reduction in the budget could be attributed to the impacts of Covid-19, dependency on other parties including the NZ Transport Agency, unforeseen delays or changes of project scope during planning and design, and the recent advancement of "shovel-ready initiatives".

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