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Comment Sought On $20.6m Nrc Draft Annual Plan

Date: 09 April, 2008

Comment Sought On $20.6m Nrc Draft Annual Plan

Northlanders have a month from Saturday (12 April) to comment on a variety of planned projects – including $900,000 of new spending designed to reduce flood risks – as detailed in the Northland Regional Council’s Draft Annual Plan 2008/09.

Northland Regional Councillors recently approved a $20.6 million (GST-exclusive) draft budget for the 12 months beginning 1 July. An official one-month period for public comment on the Draft Annual Plan begins on Saturday, 12 April, with submissions able to be made until Tuesday, 13 May.

Council Chairman Mark Farnsworth says the draft plan largely follows a direction set out in the Council’s previously approved Long Term Council Community Plan 2006-2016.

Variations include proposed extra spending to reduce flood risks across the region, including a new targeted rate to collect roughly $100,000 annually from the flood-prone Whangaroa/Kaeo area. Subject to community approval, the funding will be used to maintain the channels of rivers and streams in that area.

The draft plan also contains provision for an extra $800,000 spending from rates to pay for individually tailored river management plans for a number of Northland catchments – most in the Far North District - deemed most at risk from flooding.

Mr Farnsworth says overall, the Council proposes to collect almost $10.7M (excluding GST) in total rates revenue across almost 83,000 properties Northland-wide. Returns from investments, fees and charges will account for balance of the Council’s income.

“My fellow Councillors and I urge as many people as possible to take the time to comment on the various initiatives outlined in this draft plan.”

He says people are often reluctant to comment on Council proposals, incorrectly believing that as individuals, their opinions carry little weight.

“In fact, every year the Draft Annual Plan is influenced by – and altered – as a result of public submissions. I want to assure people that every submission is important and an invaluable aid to Councillors.”


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Mr Farnsworth says as proposed, existing general rates levied are expected to rise an average of about two percent.

“When various targeted rates are also factored in, this would see someone in the Whangarei area whose land is worth the District average of $246,000 paying about $135 in Regional Council rates over the next 12 months. Similarly, a Kaipara ratepayer whose land is worth the District average of $265,000 will pay about $111 over the same period.”

Mr Farnsworth says properties in the Far North District – which were recently independently revalued by Quotable Value - currently have an average land value of $304,000. “That would attract an NRC rates bill of about $111.”

Mr Farnsworth says copies of the full 120-page Draft Annual Plan will be available from the Council’s website www.nrc.govt.nz/annualplan from Saturday, 12 April and from all Regional Council offices from Monday, 14 April.

He says a six-page Summary Draft Annual Plan has also been printed and more than 60,000 copies will be sent to homes throughout Northland by mid-April. Copies of the Summary will also be available from the Council’s website.

Submissions on the Draft Annual Plan will be considered by Councillors at hearings in late May. Based on submissions, changes to the Draft will be incorporated in a revised Annual Plan to be presented to the full Council for adoption at its June meeting. A final version of the Annual Plan will then be printed and distributed in late July.


ENDS


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