Annual Plan 2008/09
The Christchurch City Council adopted its Draft Annual Plan 2008/09 and amendments to its Long term Council Community Plan 2006-16 (LTCCP) at its meeting on 25 June 2008.
In adopting the Plan and amendments to the LTCCP, the Council has set the rates for the coming year and has committed the necessary funding for the new kerbside collection system.
Rates for residential properties will increase by an average 5.1% which includes the fixed annual charge for the kerbside system. The average increase for businesses is 8.34% plus an $82 fixed annual charge for the kerbside system where it operates. For rural properties the average increase is 3.1% which includes the costs of the new collection system.
The system will be funded by a new uniform targeted rate for the three bin kerbside system; a 75% part charge for properties using an outlying depot-based service; user charges in the CBD; the balance funded by general rates.
The extension of the tram route has been approved with the adoption of the Plan.
The new route will extend beyond the existing circuit at the corner of Worcester Boulevard and Oxford Terrace and travel south along Oxford Terrace before turning east at the City Mall. It will continue to Manchester Street where it will turn right, looping back along High Street, north into Colombo Street, linking up with the present route at the back of the Cathedral. For more about the tram route go to tram project information.
Capital works totalling $256 million have been approved in the Plan, up from a proposed $230.7 million reported in the draft. The increase is partly due to $1.1 million in Council community housing refurbishment and maintenance. The Council plans to refurbish 270 units in the 2008-09 year compared with 120 in the pervious year.
A number of fees and charges relating to Council-provided services have been changed both up and down, generally as a result of direct cost-recovery for the service.
The Council adoption of the Draft Annual Plan and amendments to the LTCCP follow three months of consultation, hearings and Council deliberations.
There were 537 submissions on the Plan and the LTCCP, and of those, 80 submitters, both individuals and organisations, were heard by the Council over a four day period.
A large number of the submissions related to the extension of the tram route and the variation to the City Mall plan to allow for the operation of trams.
Other proposals that attracted a number of submissions were rates, the capital works programme, the targeted rate for the new kerbside waste minimisation collection system, fees at early learning and recreation centres, and housing rent increases.
- The Annual Plan is how the Council annually updates the LTCCP forecast for the fiscal year commencing 1 July, using the most up-to-date financial and project information available. The LTCCP shows what the Council will be doing over the 10-year period of the LTCCP, why it is going to do these things, and what the costs will be.
- The rates levied are based on the revised property valuations for the city which were released late last year. However rates do not increase by the capital value change. Instead, the proportion a property-owner pays of the overall rate-take might alter slightly depending on the increase in their property’s value compared to the city average.
- The commercial sector rate increase is higher than the residential because following the 2007 revaluation of the city, the increase in valuations for the commercial sector was by comparison on average much higher. Also, the business sector is apportioned a higher proportion of roading costs, which continues to be an area affected by large cost increases.
Changes to fees and charges approved in 2008/09 Annual Plan
Why has the Council increased its consent charges?
- The Council has not increased many of its fees and charges since 2004
- In 2004 the Building Act was introduced which required councils to become accredited
- Consents were required to be put through much more rigorous checks, to ensure their quality and robustness
- This process takes considerably longer than previously, but provides a better quality outcome
- To ensure realistic charging, the Council has now had to introduced hourly rate charging
- Before the charging regime was one of a fixed charge in the form of deposit that was worked up to, then anything over was charged at an hourly rate.
- Now the deposit is based on an hourly rate and this much more accurately reflects to members of the public and developers what the final cost is likely to be.
- The charges also reflect the difference between controlled activities in the City Plan, and discretionary activities; there is greater cost involved in discretionary non-complying activities, with the need for greater time, publicity; hearings etc
- Smaller consents remain at a small fixed charge.
- Subdivision fees have been simplified so there is a charge for each lot.
- The Council’s consent fees are still among the lowest in New Zealand
What about childcare facilities increased fees?
- Fees were last increased in 2006
- Two stage increase for all three centres from $4 to $4.50 on 1 July and from $4.50 to $5.00 on 1 January 2009
- To maintain a rates neutral fiscal position for the consolidated ELC’s
- To cover significant movements in costs in areas such as utilities, consumables and human resource costs
Trade waste charges?
- Some of these have increased and some decreased
- A number of changes follow the calculation requirements in new legislation, the Trade Waste Bylaw 2006
- Volume charges for peak and off-peak discharges have increased due to the effect of operational costs increasing as captured in a 5 year rolling average
- Charges for metals have altered in sympathy with the amount measured in the bio-solid and reflects the related cost in processing and discharging to landfill instead of returning it to land for re-use
- Tankered waste discharge fees have a 5.4% increase due to operational cost for laboratory testing charges and additional time requirement for WasteTrack auditing
- Suspended solids were subject to a measurement (filter paper) change with the introduction of the new trade waste bylaw so the figure in the previous fees and charges schedule was not correct i.e. it was changed from 0.3660 to 0.2121 cents per kg. The increase is therefore 7.4% and represents an increase in the 5 year operational cost rolling average.
- A new charging system for smaller dischargers is still being established and the associated licensing rates for this period will not change.
- The ratio for peak/off-peak charge rate has changed resulting in a less discounted charge as per the adopted charging policy.
Health Licensing fees?
- The Domestic Food Review means significant changes to the way the Council registers food premises.
- The Council will need to increase the amount of time it spends on providing this service, and consequently the number of staff dedicated to the task.
- As a result, there has been a small increase to the annual fee for registering a food premises.
- The Council last increased its food premises registration fee in 1999 and its fees are only a third to a half of those charged by other, similar sized Councils.
Lyttelton Recreation Centre bookings?
- New charges have been introduced
- These have not been changed/introduced since amalgamation