Council rates confirm transport, freshwater, biodiversity and biosecurity priorities

Council concluded deliberations on the draft Annual Plan 2019-20, Fees & Charges Policy, Revenue & Financing Policy, and rates for the coming financial year on 16 May, the same day that it declared a climate emergency. Today the plan and policies were formally adopted and the rates set.

While no significant changes were proposed to the type of activity or strategic direction outlined for year two of the Long-Term Plan (ie for the 2019/20 year), the adopted Annual Plan June 2019-20 has a rates increase equivalent* to around $33 per year for an urban Christchurch property valued at $570k, in order to increase spending across priority areas of freshwater management and biodiversity, and support service improvements in public transport.  

Chair Steve Lowndes noted that the 10.5% included a large allocation (4%) for public transport – 3% for implementation of Regional Public Transport Plan initiatives consulted on last year – and 1% for the operational implications of the Employee Relations Act, which fall mostly on public transport. The 4% for public transport is mostly funded by a targetted rate focused on Greater Christchurch and Timaru, where public transport services operate.

The remainder of the increase is for freshwater management, biodiversity and biosecurity, responding to operational implications of the Employee Relations Act, and inflation.

Particular projects highlighted by Council are the investment in its already existing Climate Change Integration programme, which will enhance visibility of climate change-related work, the WaterData 2020 project to enable data to be better gathered, interpreted and shared, and the public transport implementation.

“On behalf of Council, I’d like to thank submitters for the time taken to make a submission.  And I’d like to thank my fellow Councillors and staff for all the work that has gone into reaching this point.  We have been backwards and forwards before reaching this position, all of us conscious of the desire to keep moving quickly in all areas but also the need to prioritise resources and balance affordability for ratepayers,” Lowndes says.

The draft plan – year two of the current Long-Term Plan 2018-28 was made available for community and stakeholder feedback in February-March, alongside proposed changes to two of the Council’s policies (Fees & Charges and Revenue & Financing).

Read the documents

Note: Cr Rod Cullinane voted against the rate increase figure. 

*Rates are made up of targeted and general rates.  A table of sample properties is available that shows the impact on properties in different locations and with different capital values.