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Council approves release of draft annual plan

Council approves release of draft annual plan

ORC’s draft annual plan for the 2014-15 financial year has been adopted by Council and is now available for public comment.

The draft plan outlines the council’s proposed work programme for the year, along with the estimated costs.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said the consultative process the council is about to embark on is an opportunity for ratepayers and residents to make written submissions on the plan, and if they choose, to follow this up by speaking to their submissions at public hearings.

Mr Woodhead said this democratic process allowed councillors to become aware of public sentiment about key issues and activities before they considered setting rates for the 2014-15 year.

Submissions on the plan close on May 2, and hearings will be held during the week beginning May 12.

The draft plan provides for a general rate increase of 2.49 percent. The general rate, excluding GST, will total $5.02 million compared to the $4.9 million requirement in 2013-14.

However, targeted rates are set to fall by 21 percent from $10.7 million in 2013-14 to about $8.5 million in 2014-15, a decrease of $2.16 million or 20 percent.

The total of both targeted and general rates to be collected in 2014 is set to fall by just over $2 million, or 13 percent, to $13.5 million

Activities for which targeted rates are charged include passenger transport in Dunedin; working to improve air quality in Central Otago and Milton; and operating and maintaining our flood and drainage schemes throughout Otago.

Mr Woodhead said the 2014-15 financial year will be the last in which the council needs to collect the targeted rate for the Forsyth Barr Stadium. The final rate requirement has reduced substantially from $2.8 million for each of the past five years to just $550,000 in 2014-15.

Other features of the draft annual plan include:

· Work on implementing our Water Plan changes 6A (water quality) and 1C (water quantity).

· Notification of a new Regional Policy Statement in December this year and council decisions on it being released by June next year.

· The proposed development of a biodiversity strategy. This will pull together current work including monitoring Otago’s significant wetlands; assisting community groups with information and field day support; and administering the Honda Tree Fund in Otago.

· Development of a South Island-wide pest management strategy alongside the review of ORC’s own regional strategy.

· Spending $8 million on maintenance and development of our flood and drainage schemes, including $5 million on flood protection works for the Water of Leith between Dundas Street and St David Street in Dunedin, and $1.4 million on the Lower Clutha flood and drainage scheme.

· A proposed upgrade of the stock truck effluent disposal site at Raes Junction, and construction of two new sites – one at Springvale Road, Alexandra and one at either Cromwell or Victoria Flats (Gibbston).

Ends

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