Rebuild and Recover Budget 2023/24
We're putting together our Council's budgets, project and operational priorities for the 2023/24 financial year - our Rebuild and Recover Budget is our Annual Plan for the year.
An Annual Plan is produced in the two intervening years between each Long Term Plan and outlines any key changes our Council has made to what was forecast in the Long Term Plan. This states what we intend to achieve over the next financial year, how much it will cost, and how that cost will be funded (including the setting of rates for 2023/24).
With four severe weather events in the first six weeks of 2023, and costs for Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle likely to pass $40 million just to repair and rebuild our local roading alone, we’re having to make some tough calls in our upcoming Annual Plan about delaying, deferring or amending our planned infrastructure projects and cutting operational costs.
That’s why we asked for your feedback on our proposed budget for this coming financial year (1 July 2023 - 30 June 2024), so that our final Annual Plan reflects our community needs.
“A major focus is on repairing the extensive damage to our roading network to help keep our communities connected and accessible,” says our Mayor Len Salt.
“Together we’re going to have to make some tough decisions about where and what we spend on, in the next 12 months."
What's happening next?
- We asked for feedback on the proposals for the Plan from 14 March to 10 April 2023.
- Hearings from submitters who wished to speak to our Council about their feedback were held on 26 April.
- We received 184 submissions to our proposed 2023/24 Annual Plan. You can view them in the agenda for the 26 April hearing
- Our Council deliberated on the Annual Plan proposals and submissions on 17 and 18 May.
- On 27 June our Council will adopt the final Annual Plan
What are our proposals?
You can review the proposals in the Consultation Document below.
We asked for your thoughts on:
- Our proposed average rates for 2023/24
- Storm recovery and how it has affected our budgets
- Deferring the Pollen Street Infrastructure replacement project to help our businesses recover
- Our updated capital works (CAPEX) and operational (OPEX) programmes, which are making room in our budget for storm events we’ve not yet costed
- Kerbside collection pricing options for our new rubbish wheelie bins and food waste bins
- Changes to our schedule of fees and charges
What happened at our Annual Plan deliberations?
Our Council deliberated on all the public feedback we received on our proposed Annual Plan budget for 2023/24 over two days - 17 and 18 May.
In our 2021-2031 LTP we had forecast a 7.7 per cent average rates increase for the district this coming year. This was consulted on and adopted by Council in 2021. Since then, we’ve seen interest rate increases, project and contract cost escalations and we also face ongoing costs to rebuild and recover from recent storm events.
In March/April, we went out with a proposed average rate increase of 11.4 per cent in our consultation document, which was before we had a better understanding of the financial impact of storm recovery. Since then, a further $11.2 million of storm recovery work for 2023/2024 has been confirmed and our current year’s progress has also been considered.
With some additional financial reforecasting and modelling, and with feedback received, we revised our capital and operational expenses again. We’re now looking at a proposed district-wide average rate increase of 11.6 per cent.
The proposed median rate increase for residential properties per community board area will vary across the district, depending on where you live and the type of property you have. We are working to confirm the financial model for this and will let you know once that is complete.
Our full deliberations report can be read online here.
Capital and operational programmes
The knowledge that we have to create some space and capacity in our next financial year’s budget to get things like our roads fixed - and to prepare that there may be further large-scale weather events over winter - meant we needed to adjust our capital works and operational expenses further.
- To accommodate storm recovery projects, we considered deferring all budget for the Tōtara Valley Road (Thames) service extension project but decided to endorse retaining a lower level of budget for roading and stormwater to keep some momentum on this project.
- We’ve endorsed reintroducing $685,183 for Whangamatā Nib kerb construction and $150,000 for the design of the Hāhei wastewater extension.
- Adjustments to our capital works programme resulted in a total proposed budget of $50,505,388.
- We decided to redirect the allocation of Community Boards’ grants funding from contestable to discretionary. This has resulted in a saving of $160,500 across the district. Our Community Outcomes group will be supporting our community groups to help access alternative funding sources.
It was good to see some wide-ranging discussion about the pricing for our new Kerbside rubbish services, which start on 1 September. We came together to endorse Option 2. This is the pre-paid, Pay As You Throw system costing $8 including GST per 140L bin empty and a targeted solid waste rate increase of 76 per cent, providing a balance between accommodating both our resident and non-resident ratepayers.
Pollen Street infrastructure deferral
We endorsed our consultation proposal to defer the Pollen Street infrastructure replacement project to 2024/25 and beyond.
Fees and charges schedule
After some discussion on fees for development contributions, library fines, parks concessions, building and resource consents, we endorsed the revised Schedule of Fees and Charges as proposed.
All in all, we have been able to free up space in next year's budget to help with roading fixes, and although many of the deferrals will result in a higher starting point for the 24/25 budget, they were considered to be necessary to assist with our recovery phase.
Supporting information for our proposed Annual Plan 2023/24