Ageing infrastructure the big spend

The Southland District council discusses the annual plan. Photo: Laura Smith
The Southland District council discusses the annual plan. Photo: Laura Smith
Ageing infrastructure in Southland District, reaching the end of its useful life, will be the council's focus for the next financial year.

The Southland District Council approved its annual plan at a full council meeting in Invercargill yesterday.

The plan's main projects relate to roading, sewerage and water renewals.

Core projects included $12.8million on the Te Anau wastewater project, including construction of the 18km pipeline from Te Anau to the Kepler Block; $1.9million for repair and replacement of water pipes in Otautau and Te Anau; and $179,000 to improve and better manage its open spaces.

The council also set an overall rates increase of 3.49%, which is higher than the expected 3.34% budgeted in its long-term plan for 2018-28.

The document stated the rates increase had been kept to a minimum in considering rates affordability and the main reason for this increase was ''changes in operational contracts''.

The plan included a table that showed what residents get from their rates.

''Each $1 of your rates goes towards: 30c for roads and footpaths, 28c for district leadership, 10c for solid waste, 8c for wastewater, 8c for water supply, 3c regulatory services, 1c emergency management and 1c stormwater.''

The report stated the expected revenue totalled $73.1million - $48.4million from the rates, $13.1million from funding from the NZ Transport Agency and the rest from other sources as interest, dividends and grants.

It also highlighted the forecast deficit in year two of the long-term plan 2018-19 decreased by $911,000, from $4,264,000 to $3,353,000.

This was predominantly due to an increase in government funding for the Te Anau wastewater project ($3million) offset by an increase in the contribution to joint council projects (Pyramid Bridge $1.5million and employee associated costs $700,000).

The annual plan also included a budget of $493,000 for the rebuild of the Ulva Island jetty and Golden Bay wharf.

However, staff were undertaking further investigations and there would probably be additional costs.

Mayor Gary Tong said the annual plan document was very good and more ''approachable and open'' for residents.

The annual plan will be published on the council's website in a month.

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