Fuseworks Media

Long Term Plan 2024-2034 open for consultation – NCC

Nelson City Council has opened public consultation on its Long Term Plan 2024-2034 (LTP) consultation document.

Titled Beyond the Storm – Kei tua i te āwhā, the consultation document for the plan outlines eight key issues for the community to provide feedback on.

Nelson Mayor Nick Smith says the title has two contexts.

“The August 2022 weather event was the worst in 50 years and has had a huge impact on Council’s work and finances. Fixing the damaged infrastructure, finding a pragmatic solution for homes damaged or put at risk by landslides and securing financial support from the Government has dominated my first year as Mayor. The last big decision for Council related to the 2022 storm is how we meet the cost, and our proposal is for a $300 annual targeted rate for all separately used or inhabited parts of a rating unit in Nelson.

“It is not just a weather event that has made this Long Term Plan so challenging. We also have an economic storm with the highest inflation and interest rates in three decades and increased costs for Council in areas we cannot control. Our challenge is to navigate a realistic and responsible financial path while ensuring we maintain and improve the services that support the city’s prosperity and wellbeing. The combination of higher interest costs of $4.2 million, increased depreciation of $1.5 million and increased insurance levies of $750,000 alone add 6.8% to the average household rates bill.”

The eight key issues in the plan are:

  • Rates affordability

  • Buy-outs of private properties affected by slips

  • Council’s forestry approach

  • Marina CCO proposal

  • Housing Reserve Fund changes

  • All-weather sports turf

  • Tāhunanui Beach facilities

  • Arts Hub

One of the key decisions Nelsonians are being asked to give their feedback on is around the proposed rate rise and its impact on services. Council staff have worked hard to find savings across all budgets in order to keep the average rates increase down to 8.2% (plus $300 Storm Recovery Charge) in the first year of the plan.

“We’ve presented three options. If we keep the status quo our rates rise will need to be higher than 8.2%. Another option would involve much larger and more noticeable cuts to services, with a lower rates rise. Our preferred option is somewhere in the middle, balancing rates rises with providing services and some modest new projects and accepting some reductions in services and maintenance standards and frequency.”

If, following feedback, Council went with this preferred option it would limit the average rates rises to 8.2% plus a $300 (including GST) Storm Recovery Charge in 2024/25, and subsequent average rates rises over the next nine years of between 1.7% to 5.4%. Projected net debt would increase from $208 million in June 2024 to $526 million in 2034.

“The underlying strategy in this proposed Long Term Plan is to take a cautious approach to new capital spending for any large civic projects over the next few years, while continuing preparatory work so those projects are ready to go once the economic situation improves,” says Mayor Nick.

“This reflects the difficult economic climate and the amount of storm recovery work that still needs to be completed.”

However, Council is proposing to take on some smaller scale projects in the early years of the plan; a surf lifesaving facility at Tāhunanui Beach, a central city arts hub, and an all-weather sports turf. At the same time as the LTP consultation, Council is reviewing and updating a range of other policies. Many of them directly support our plan and reflect the priorities and work programmes that we want to progress over the next 10 years. To find out more about these ‘Other Consultations’ visit nelson.govt.nz.

 

Powered by Fuseworks and Truescope - Media monitoring, insights and news distribution for New Zealand organisations.