Annual Plan focus for upcoming board and Council meetings
6 May 2020
Central Otago District Council's four community boards meet next week to approve their respective budgets for inclusion in the Annual Plan 2020-21 process, ahead of Council meeting on 18 May to consider public submissions.
Council adopted the 2020-21 Annual Plan Consultation Document on 11 March and then went out for public consultation from 16 March to 14 April.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic impact this is expected to have on many ratepayers, the Executive Committee of Council directed staff to consider options for revised figures relating to the proposed 2020-21 Annual Plan.
That revision, plus consideration of submissions from the Central Otago community during the consultation period, have informed the revised figures that will be presented to community boards starting with Cromwell Community Board next Monday 11 May.
Executive Manager - Corporate Services Leanne Macdonald said where possible staff had sought alternative funding mechanisms without significantly impacting the proposed programme of work for the 2020/21 year, "recognising the importance of that work in district recovery and well-being".
Chief Executive Sanchia Jacobs said that although the proposed annual plan put out for consultation was largely reflective of increased costs and not new expenditure, the impacts of COVID-19 were so significant that revising the proposed budgets had been "a must".
"We recognise that the economic impact of COVID-19 will be deep for many businesses and households. Our Executive team, finance team and Council have taken the task very seriously and worked tirelessly exploring all options for how we can continue to deliver great services while lessening the impact of rates increases."
The community was invited through this year's Annual Plan consultation to provide feedback on two topics - Council's proposal to join the Local Government Funding Authority (LGFA) scheme, and proposed rates changes. Fifty-four submissions were received.
In response to Council's proposal to join the LGFA scheme as a guaranteeing local authority, 82% of submitters chose Council's preferred option to join the LGFA scheme as a guaranteeing local authority.
There were 36 comments received relating to proposed rates changes, with the most common theme the impact of COVID-19 on our communities and the sentiment that the proposed rates changes should be reviewed as a result.
Submissions to the 2020-21 Annual Plan Consultation Document will be considered by Council at the meetings on 18 May and if needed on 19 May. Some submissions relate to functions Council has delegated to its community boards, and so boards will consider these issues next week and advise Council of the action it would like taken on each one.
Given current COVID-19 restrictions, these upcoming meetings will be held remotely via video streaming. The links for the public to watch the live streams and, later, the recordings of the meetings will be available on Council's website www.codc.govt.nz/meetings.
Mayor Tim Cadogan said that all the boards as well as Council had practiced using video streaming for meetings and while nothing would replace the benefits of face-to-face consultation meetings "safety and adherence to the national COVID-19 alert level guidelines requires this approach".