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Queenstown Lakes District Council: Zero Rates Increase

9 April 2013

Zero Rates Increase

The Queenstown Lakes District Council plans to deliver a zero rates increase in the 2013/14 year, QLDC Mayor Vanessa van Uden announced today.

“This Council set an expectation to make savings across operations without compromising services and that has been achieved. It’s a fantastic result for the community and relatively unheard of in local government realms,” Mayor van Uden said.

The journey had been carefully crafted around achieving financial efficiencies and involved a dedicated programme over the last four years to address affordability in the Queenstown Lakes District, she said.

Council would be asked to adopt the draft Annual Plan for community consultation at Friday’s Council meeting.

The timing of the current organisational review meant the financial implications of pending decisions about staff had not been factored in the draft plan. “The financial implications of the review will not be factored until next year’s plan but the proposed outcomes of the review will no doubt ensure Council can maintain if not improve this sort of result for the future,” Mayor van Uden said.

The biggest contribution to the proposed zero rates increase had been around the considered deferral of projects, both through education (deferral of additional water infrastructure) and testing the timing , costs and solutions around big ticket projects ie Project Shotover (disposal of waste water to land on the Shotover Delta).

On that basis capital expenditure in 2013/14 is proposed to decrease by $8.6 million.

“This is not about foisting all the costs on future generations, in some cases it’s a more sustainable way of looking at cost and in other cases it’s about revisiting assumptions,” QLDC chief executive Adam Feeley said.

A proposed decrease in operating costs of $4.15 million included a drop in maintenance costs for roading, three waters and reserves.

“It’s about finding efficiencies in these areas not changing levels of service but we are flagging in the draft plan that in the future we will be looking at levels of service and asking if we can make changes and prioritise road work in particular,” she said.

Mayor van Uden reiterated that the zero rates increase was an average.

“What that means is there is a range of change from minus 1.31% to plus 1.75%. It will depend on the value, location and services for your property,” Mayor van Uden said.

The 2013/14 draft Annual Plan would be available online on Saturday 13 April with a summary circulated in the following week. Submissions close on 13 May, 2013, with the plan adopted on 25 June, 2013.

ENDS

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