Submission on the Thames Coromandel District Council Annual Plan for 2022/23
It is that time of year again when Council’s review their spending and funding against their projected three-year plan, called the Long-Term Plan (LTP). If changes are proposed to what was outlined in the LTP, then Council are obliged to consult and seek feedback on the proposed changes. Annual Plans (APs) are prepared by Council in the years in between each LTP, which sets out what Council wants to do for the upcoming year, what the cost is, and how it will be funded. Thames Coromandel District Council (TCDC) asked the community for feedback on their 2022/2023 Annual Plan, with submissions closing on the 11th of April 2022. The main thrust of our submission this year was that 2022 is another uncertain year, and we encouraged Council to consider how lower costs and fit-for-purpose infrastructure can assist the community.
TCDC proposed changes to their fees and charges, including the funding mix in each area with boat ramps and wharves. This would see a reduction in funding through rates contributions, and an increase in funding from fees paid by users. We supported this change, as it will reduce the burden on ratepayers in most areas and make users pay for this service.
For capital works, many projects have been carried forward from the previous year. Feds appreciated the cumulative impact of supply chain disruptions, finding contractors to carry out capital expenditure projects, and on top of that, challenges and costs arising with COVID-19 and inflation. However, we made clear that our members also face their own substantial challenges resulting from these circumstances, including labor shortages, compliance costs, supply chain problems and increases in farm input costs. We encouraged Council to consider lower costs, implement fit-for-purpose infrastructure and carry out calculated spending to assist the community and our members.
The Matarangi Open Space land purchase is also back on the radar. The preferred option by Council is expenditure of $1.25 million from Council reserve budgets and community funding to buy the land. We recommended that Council undertake an expenditure programme confined to ‘must do’ projects – and we believe this is not one of them.
As a result of all proposed changes in the AP, an average district wide rates increase to 8.3% is proposed, compared with 7.7% forecasted in the LTP. We note that the proposed increase is based off a district average, which means more cost for you in dollar terms than many other rate payers. With the substantial challenges our members are facing, we recommended the proposed rates increase is revised and reduced, where possible. So, on the whole – some small wins, but unfortunately further rates increases are in store. This seems to be a trend across the country. Council will deliberate on submissions in May, before meeting on 28th of June 2022 to adopt the AP, fees and charges, and to approve rates.
Our full submission can be reviewed on the right.
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