Council confirms projects for the next 12 months

27/06/2019 3:47pm

Nelson City Council has adopted its 2019/2020 Annual Plan, confirming the projects to be funded for the financial year ahead.

This Annual Plan has an overall increase in rates of 4.2%, after allowing for growth, which is consistent with the Draft Annual Plan and remains within the rates cap. Net debt is forecast to be $91.7 million, which is $29.8 million less than projected in the Long Term Plan 2018-28.

Developing the Annual Plan has involved a significant level of engagement with the community. The Annual Plan set a framework for Council’s four priorities of future-proofing core infrastructure, protecting and enhancing our natural environment, developing our City Centre, and lifting Council performance. In addition to these priorities, the key issue of climate change was also highlighted.

The Annual Plan Consultation Document was released at the end of March, and written submissions from the public were made through to the beginning of May. The submitters had the opportunity to speak to Council over three days in May. Council then deliberated in early June before today confirming the areas that will receive funding.
Mayor Rachel Reese expressed her thanks to those that took the time to submit.

“We received a significant number of submissions, which were of very high quality. We are extremely grateful for those that took the time to let us know what they wanted through our Annual Plan.
“So many submissions were supportive of Council’s approach, which is encouraging as we build The Smart Little City.”
The major additions that were included in the Annual Plan following listening to public submissions were:

  • An additional $35,000 funding for the Nelson Centre for Musical Arts for six months, while an external review is undertaken of the Centre’s business model
  • Working with potential partners to apply for inclusion in MBIE’s Welcoming Communities programme to support new migrants.
  • Developing policies that align with central government’s Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 objectives with support from Nelson Marlborough Health.
  • Changes to the 2019/20 capital expenditure budget to account for projects that have been rephrased since the Long Term Plan 2018-28 was prepared.
  • Establishing a Council facilities event hire fund of $30,000 through which community groups can apply for reduced venue hire (following a report to determine the appropriate criteria to administer and access the fund)

Council also confirmed the current level of funding for key external projects including:

  • Natureland – funding of $174,000 per annum (plus inflation) as per the long term plan for a total $1.964 million over the 10 years (with a request for the Trust to investigate strengthening its business model).
  • Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust - $150,000 per annum (plus inflation), totalling over $1.7 million of operational funding as outlined in the Long Term Plan.

Some significant savings were also highlighted in the deliberations including:

  • Residential water meter renewal replacements budget reduces from $1,124,000 in the Long Term Plan to $700,000 in the Annual Plan
  • Nelson Wastewater Treatment Plant desludging budget reduces from $565,000 in the Long Term Plan to nil in the Annual Plan, as the project will be completed in 2018/19 ahead of time and budget

Overall there is a proposed Capital Works programme for 2019/20 of $46.7 million. The operational and capital expenditure in each Council activity area is as follows:

Proposed operational expenditure for 2019/20:

Proposed capital expenditure for 2019/20:

Community Housing:

During the Annual Plan deliberations, Council agreed to investigate divesting (i.e. selling) its 142 community housing units.

Mayor Reese reinforced the need to boost community housing supply.

“We have looked at how we can enable more social housing and wellbeing in our community, and believe that the best option is to work with organisations that bring specialist housing expertise and have opportunities to access government and other funding sources, not available to Council.”

Tenants’ wellbeing was reiterated as a top priority. “We received many very thoughtful submissions from tenants, and we understand their concerns.

"I can reassure tenants that their wellbeing will be at the centre of our discussion with interested parties. We will be keeping tenants informed throughout the process," says Mayor Reese.

To read more see the media release on Community Housing

Climate Change:
Council also allocated $254,500 for climate change initiatives and created a reserve fund of $500,000 (from the Port Nelson special dividend) for possible climate change initiatives. The $254,500 will be dedicated to a climate change work programme including staff resources, participating in the Certified Emissions Measurement And Reduction Scheme (CEMARS) programme, establishing a Climate Forum and Taskforce and ongoing work with the community.  
 To read more see the media release on Council’s Climate Change decision

Mayor Reese says “In this Annual Plan, Council has remained committed to its four priorities of infrastructure, environment, city centre development and lifting Council performance, with an additional focus on considering Climate Change and the impact that will have on our future planning.
“In each of these focus areas we have looked for opportunities to work with partners to deliver more to the community than Council could achieve alone.
“Although we would always like to do more, we have to be particularly mindful of keeping within the rates and debt cap that we set during our Long Term Plan. Being the Smart Little City is also about the careful management of our expenditure, and this Annual Plan remains within those limits, while delivering the projects and investment in our City.”