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Draft long term plan signed off

June 8, 2006

Draft long term plan signed off

Environment Canterbury (ECan) yesterday signed off its draft long term council community plan (LTCCP), shaving $2.2 million off the proposed expenditure for the 2006/07 year, having reviewed the submissions received. Total expenditure has reduced from the 18 per cent proposed increase for the 2006/07 year to 15 per cent increase on the current year.

“The council had to reconcile the competing themes of do much more in water and land management but try and spend less,” said ECan chairman Sir Kerry Burke. "The key drivers behind the increased work programmes and environmental accountability are land and water management and ensuring that Christchurch's excellent public transport system continues to reduce the effects of road congestion.

“Environment Canterbury has agreed to a formal process of consultation on water user charges, which were supported by submitters, and a uniform annual general charge. These are alternative funding mechanisms to general rates and if adopted will lead to a reduction in general rates from the 2007/08 financial year.”

General ECan rates will increase by 21 per cent in the coming financial year (July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007) and will be formally struck at the council meeting on June 29, after the audit report has been received.

As from July 1, ECan is returning to a system of equalisation for collecting rates.This means that capital valuation increases will be smoothed out across the region from year to year, regardless of when each district’s properties are revalued.

The council also agreed to delay any targeted rate system to fund household clean heat conversions in either Timaru or Rangiora/Kaiapoi for at least another year. This amount - $767,000 - was removed from the council’s expenditure for 2006/07, a significant part of the proposed $2.2 million expenditure reduction. Instead, $150,000 will be spent on education and marketing in the two areas, $100,000 from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s funding for the region and $50,000 from general rates.

ENDS

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