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Council meeting: In brief

Council meeting: In brief

At the Environment Southland council meeting today, several key decisions were made.

Rates set
Environment Southland today set the rating level for the 2015/16 financial year, reflecting the core services and work programmes outlined in the Council’s Long-term Plan, which was adopted in June. Overall rate levels, as signalled in the Plan, will go up by 6.5% this year, with some ratepayers experiencing increases and some decreases depending on their own property value movements relative to other Southland properties. The amount being collected via rates accounts for 51% of Councils revenue for the year.

Airborne Geophysical Survey Project Involvement
Today Councillors agreed to contribute up to $250,000 to the airborne geophysical survey project being undertaken in Southland over the next two years. The survey will be a complement to the work being done on the physiographic zones and the Council’s science programme.

Environmental Enhancement Fund approval
Councillors agreed to approve a grant of $10,180 for Charlie and Emma Smaill from the Environmental Enhancement Fund. The grant amounts to 50% of the total cost of work the couple plan to use to undertake weed control on the Glenlapa Station, particularly for gorse, broom and woody weeds such as hawthorn on the edges of four proposed QEII covenants totalling 141.3ha.

Invoicing annual charges
Council today adopted a policy that outlines when annual charges will be invoiced and how they will be applied for consent holders. The policy aims to ensure a consistent approach to how and when annual charges are applied so that applicants know what charges they will incur when they apply for a resource consent.

Forest and Bird declaration
At the Council meeting today, Councillors directed staff not to join Forest and Bird’s declaratory judgement proceedings, but to keep a watching brief on these proceedings. Forest and Bird are seeking to have the Environment Court declare that excreta from animals are a discharge under legislation. The judgement could have wide ranging impacts on regional councils as it would mean that animal extreta would require a discharge permit if no rule existed in a plan or national environmental standard to permit the activity.

Indigenous Vegetation Clearance
Feedback following field days for hill and high country development in 2014 clearly showed that there was significant confusion within the rural community about which council is the controlling authority in regard to indigenous vegetation clearance. Council made a commitment to discuss the issues with the Southland District, Gore District and Invercargill City Councils. These discussions have been underway with staff from all councils and today four councillors were appointed to commence more formal discussions with Southland District Council on how the indigenous vegetation clearance process and responsibilities could be managed forward. They are Councillors Rodway, Horrell, Riddell and Cockburn.


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