Long Term Plan Hearings Adjourn for Rates Calculation, Transport Funding Shortfall

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Published: 03 Jun 2021

Timaru District Council’s Long Term Plan Hearings adjourned last night with plans to return to deliberation on the long term plan Tuesday 8 June.

Tuesday’s meeting will see councillors presented with financial modelling based on their preliminary decisions made this week as well as the lower than expected funding proposal from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

On the third day of public hearings Council provisionally voted to Do More (option 2) for Climate Change, to Construct a new facility on the current site of the Aigantighe Art Gallery (option 1), to start work on Aorangi Park in 2023 (option 3), and to Enable the City Hub regeneration (option 2).

The votes will be confirmed on Tuesday 8 June following financial modelling that will inform how rates are set for the District.

On the first day of the Hearings, while the district was still in a State of Emergency, Timaru District Council received an indicative proposal from Waka Kotahi for funding the District’s roading and transport activity.

“Council have been funding approximately $3m a year over and above Waka Kotahi subsidy for the last three financial years for maintenance and renewal of the roading network” Susannah Ratahi, Land Transport Unit Manage.

“Our bid submitted to Waka Kotahi in September last year sought to encourage them to financially assist us in line with what we are currently spending on the road network and what is required for the next three years,” said Ratahi.

“What we have been allocated does not reflect the increased demand on the road network in the District.

“Advanced data capture and modelling we’ve undertaken in recent years clearly demonstrated this and underlines the need to invest to ensure the network remains fit for purpose for our community, while continuing to offer the heavy vehicle access essential for the primary sector that underpins our local, regional  and national economy.

“In light of this increased demand on the network, Council needs approximately $10 million in financial assistance annually from Waka Kotahi to carry out a programme of road maintenance, renewals and road safety promotion in the district.

“This investment will ensure that the road network remains safe, accessible and fit for purpose for our community and the heavy vehicle industry.”

Timaru District Mayor Nigel Bowen said that Waka Kotahi’s proposal has left a $2.5 million hole annually in our investment in infrastructure, and has had an impact on the Long Term Plan decision making process.

“We have an obligation to provide safe, quality road infrastructure to the people of the District, and had carefully budgeted for this. With this indicative Waka Kotahi funding proposal ratepayers will continue to carry the burden so that we can continue to provide this essential service,” he said.

“Council has asked Timaru District Council Staff to go back to the budget and indicate to what extent the projects we have decided on today are still viable without the anticipated financial support from Waka Kotahi.”

Council will meet again on the Tuesday June 8 to continue deliberation in light of this proposal. This meeting will confirm the budget going forward. The Long Term Plan will be adopted in Council meeting on Tuesday 29 June when a new rate will be set.

Last updated: 03 Jun 2021