Financial matters  |  7 Feb 2019

Christchurch ratepayers will face a lower rates increase this year than that forecast in the Long Term Plan 2018 to 2028.

Councillors will consider the Draft Annual Plan 2019/20 at their meeting on Tuesday.

Safeguarding the city's water supply remains the top priority for the Council.

All local councils prepare a long term plan (LTP), including a 30-year infrastructure plan, every three years outlining what is planned for the next 10 years and how those plans will be funded. In the years between long term plans they must prepare an annual plan outlining plans and funding for the year ahead.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the Council had worked hard to keep the rates increase in check.

“We are always mindful of the pressure rates increases place on households, especially where there are fixed incomes,” she said.

“In our Long Term Plan we had budgeted for an average rates increase of 5.5 per cent this year, but this has been pared back to 5.02 per cent, which brings the average increase in residential rates down to 4.98 per cent.”

Ms Dalziel said the Council will continue to look for savings before the Annual Plan is finalised. This will need to be balanced against the need to complete earthquake repairs to pipes, roads and footpaths (horizontal infrastructure), and work needed to complete the well-head upgrades so that chlorine can be removed from the water supply.

This year’s Annual Plan is also an opportunity to reflect the significance of confirmation from Central Government of the $300 million Christchurch Regeneration Acceleration Facility.

“Two hundred and twenty million dollars has been committed to the Canterbury Multi Use Arena, which gives surety the project will proceed. The balance of the money will be allocated across the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor and horizontal infrastructure requirements.”  

Water remains the top priority for the Council, she said.

“It’s essential that we continue to protect our water supply and ensure it is safe and good to drink,” she said. “We’re continuing to bring forward our work programme to ensure we will meet any new Government standards set in light of the findings of the Havelock North Inquiry – we want to get the chlorine out of our drinking water and keep it out.”

The main proposals in the Draft Annual Plan 2019/20 are:

  • An overall average rates increase of 5.02 per cent. This is less than the 5.5 per cent forecast in the Long Term Plan 2018-28 but future rate increases are still expected to be in line with the LTP.
  • Operational expenditure of $598.9 million. This is an increase of $8.3 million over the amount in the LTP.
  • Capital expenditure of $538.1 million invested into the city. This is an increase of $82.9 million over the amount in the LTP.
  • Borrowing is $77.3 million less than planned.
  • A balanced budget in the 2019/20 year.

The draft Annual Plan will go out for public consultation in March.