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Alternative funding mechanisms For Water Charges

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Two alternative funding mechanisms for council activities advance

Environment Canterbury councillors today agreed to advance planning for a uniform annual general charge (UAGC) and to investigate ways of charging water users for water management. However, the earliest these two mechanisms could be considered for implementation would be July 2008.

Most district councils and many regional councils already operate a UAGC system, recognizing that the cost of running the democratic process segment of council activities should be evenly shared amongst ratepayers regardless of the value of the property they own.

With regards to water charging, ECan spends around $15 million annually on water management and 80% of this is recovered through general rates, not the large users of water, whether they are district council urban water suppliers or large irrigators. Hence a targeted rate for water users would be an alternative or substitute funding stream.

The recommendations agreed to are:
For uniform annual general charges, that principles and policy be reviewed and clarified including further components of expenditure relevant for inclusion in any UAGC; that further funding strategies for a UAGC be developed and examined; that associated administrative constraints and costs are identified along with requirements for achieving implementation in the 2008/09 year; that a consultation strategy be prepared and that the council proceeds with public consultation on the UAGC during 2007 to consider for implementation on July 1, 2008.

With regards to water charging the recommendations are:
Principles and policy relating to charging for water management will be reviewed and clarified including further analysis of components of rating principles and sustainable management policy; further funding strategies for water management charging will be developed, particularly but not limited to targeted rates for water consent holders; costs and constraints of associated administration will be identified and requirements for implementation for the 2008/09 year; a consultation strategy for Council consideration will be prepared and public consultation on charging for water management will proceed during 2007, for consideration for implementation on July 1, 2008.

Ends


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