Friday, 22 March 2013

WAIKOUAITI COAST COMMUNITY BOARD

by Gerard Collings, Chair

Dunedin City Council draft Annual Plan

The Dunedin City Council's long-term plan has previously foreshadowed fiscally difficult times.  The council have now imposed further expectations that have resulted in staff applying significant scrutiny on almost every dollar to be spent.  As ratepayers we are undoubtedly all supportive of the council refining expenditure and reducing the need for additional rates.  The DCC are currently consulting on the 2013/14 draft Annual Plan (AP) with submissions to close at 5:00pm on 9 April.  It is now more important than ever that we all take the opportunity to voice our view -- our endorsement or concern -- and our ideas on how the city should operate.  We all have an opportunity to participate either through the board or directly to the council.  A wise man once told me if you can't be bothered to vote, don't complain.  The same could equally be said of participating in the annual plan process.
Unfortunately the date of the Blueskin A&P Show will not provide an opportunity to present the draft AP as we have done in previous years.  Therefore we thought it might be useful to outline various matters that are to be covered in our submission;
  Stadium Debt
Whether we wanted the stadium or not the reality is it is here and it has to be paid for.  The 
Waikouaiti Coast Community Board (WCCB) support the DCC's efforts to reduce the level of debt as quickly as possible, in a manner that is affordable for our communities.  We have previously expressed, and will continue to, express, our support for operational surpluses to be applied to repayment of council debt.
  Establishment of an Events Attraction Fund of $400,000 per annum to secure major stadium events
In January the WCCB expressed its opposition to the DCC seeking additional rating for this fund. The draft AP now proposes to reallocate funds out of the tourism and marketing, and the economic development budgets.  If we are to support this initiative the board will want to be satisfied that the fund provides a direct cost benefit to the stadium, thereby reducing the level of reliance on council funds. The WCCB will also want an assurance that if the DCC do reallocate from existing budgets, the council will still seek to provide enhanced support for both tourism and economic development in our area.
  Revision of the rates remission policy for Land Voluntarily Protected for Conservation Purposes
The council are, in our view, making a significant change to this policy, a change that the board does not support.  We recommend that those currently receiving a remission under this policy make themselves aware of the proposed changes (see page 69 draft AP) and submit accordingly. 
   Performance Targets
The draft AP sets a number of 'performance targets' in order to measure its success, failure and service-level delivery.  The WCCB are concerned that a number of the targets proposed will not provide a meaningful measure of the effect of the DCC's investment.
  Increased Landfill Charges
The board are not supportive of an increase in landfill fees.  We are also not supportive of the proposal to remove the per bag charge at landfills.  We believe that service levels should be maintained and fees be kept at existing levels.
  Blueskin mega skip days
We continue to support the provision of this service
  Other Fees and Charges
in addition to the landfill charges, the board notes other proposed changes to the schedule of fees.  In some cases these are the result of a small shift to balance between the costs covered by rates and those provided for by user charges.  We are generally supportive of this approach provided the balance is maintained at a fair and reasonable rate.  We do not, however, support an increase in fees where this might be applied merely to reduce rates.  Therefore the board will be looking closely at the policies that dictate the split between rates and user pays.
 
  The amalgamation of Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and the Chinese Gardens
We are supportive of the amalgamation due to the perceived operational efficiencies that this should achieve.
  Transfer of city marketing functions to Tourism Dunedin
We are supportive of the function transfer as we believe it will reduce the potential for duplication of effort and should provide for operational cost savings.  We will however be seeking an assurance that a greater effort will be made in promoting our area.
  Ongoing work to reduce operational costs
We are supportive of the ongoing efforts by the Chief Executive and staff to reduce operational costs within the council.  We will, however, be seeking assurances that these cost savings will not come at the expense of necessary capital replacements to critical infrastructure such as water mains, roads etc.
  Waitati Toilets
The board will continue to highlight the need for public toilets in Waitati.
The draft AP is available at the library, DCC's website and from the council.  As always board members are happy to hear from members of the community who want further information, or wish to express their ideas. I strongly urge you all to take the time to make yourself familiar with the draft AP's content and participate in the consultation process.

Blueskin Bay Library

An official opening for the Blueskin Bay Library extension is scheduled for May.  Once again, a special thanks to all those in the community who have assisted in making this project a reality.
Copies of DCC documents out for consultation are available from the DCC office and through the council's website http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/council-online/currently-consulting-on
The WCCB's next meeting is at 5:30pm on 10 April at the East Otago Events Centre, Waikouaiti; our following meeting will be at 5:30pm on 29 May at the Warrington Surf Life Saving Club rooms.  Members of the public are welcome to speak at the board's public forum, however those wishing to do so need to advise Wendy Collard, our Governance Support Officer (phone 474 3374), before 12 noon on the day prior to the meeting.  Remember, you can view the board's meeting agendas, reports and minutes at either the Waikouaiti or Blueskin libraries or through the DCC's website at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/council-minutes
Members of the board are only too happy to hear (by phone or email) from members of the community about any issues within our area.

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Gerard Collings (Chairperson),
4657604
4707494
0274848800
Alasdair Morrison (Deputy),
4822505
4822505
0274354384
Andy Barratt,
021890048

021890048
Andrew Noone
4657157

0274301727
Geraldine Tait,
4822517

0212175492
Les Pullar,
4658138

0274358020
Mark Brown,
4822833



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