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Buller District Council adopts its Enhanced Annual Plan 2024-25

27 Jun 2024

Buller District Council’s recommendation for a 14% increase in total rates for the 2024-2025 financial year was adopted at the full council meeting yesterday, as part of the Enhanced Annual Plan 2024-2025.

The Draft Enhanced Annual Plan and related consultation document was adopted by council on April 10, 2024 and made publicly available for consultation from April 12 to May 20, 2024.

Deliberations held on June 11 and 12, 2024, resulted in a reduction of the proposed total rates increase from 19.7% to approximately 14.6%. This indicative rate informed the preparation of the final Enhanced Annual Plan document.

The proposed general rates portion of the increase is 7.24%. Key drivers include increases in external loan interest due to higher interest rates and facility fees, the NZTA roading programme net of higher funding from NZTA, and in contractors' costs and insurance.

These increases are partially offset by a rise in external investment income and a reduction in the general rates requirement due to revenues from the Paparoa Way leasehold properties.

Additionally, employee remuneration costs have increased by $816k compared to the 2023-2024 budget, funded through a mix of general rates, targeted rates, external revenue sources, and capital project budgets. This is purely the expense figure, however some of these costs are offset from funded revenue.

Since the adoption of the 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan in June 2021, council has employed new staff to help maintain its levels of service and business as usual activity while meeting increased demand for those services, to resource council’s increased programme of work and to ensure it meets statutory and new requirements for local government. Cumulative salary market movements have also been greater than predicted at the time the Long-Term Plan was prepared.

The proposed targeted rates portion of the increase is 6.73%. This includes increases in interest expenses due to higher forecast interest rates and debt levels, contract review costs for wastewater and water supply schemes, and increases in depreciation due to infrastructural revaluation gains and unplanned works funded by external grants.

This is offset by $0.9 million in net capital costs previously funded by rates in the Long-Term Plan, which are now supported by loans in the Annual Plan. A significant impact to the rates movement for 2024-2025 was the decision to hold water rates for 2023-2024. This made up 5.2% of the total rates movement.

This rate increase will take effect for the 2024-2025 rating year. The proposed adjustment is seen as necessary to ensure continued service delivery, infrastructure maintenance, and compliance with statutory requirements.

The new net debt limit for the council of $36.9 million will exceed the net debt limit of $25 million set in the financial strategy. This is due to an increase in overall costs and the ongoing requirements as highlighted previously.

As part of the setting of the budget, council agreed to endorse a review of the general rate differential system in line with the Long-Term Plan 2025-2034. A budget of $100,000 has been included for these activities.

Council also considered the Draft West Coast Regional Speed Management Plan. Council adopted the “Do Minimum” option with amendments based on community feedback. The amended plan for Buller includes a number of changes to speed limits, including zones around schools that apply on school days at set times.

Council also adopted a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for Chief Executive Officer Simon Pickford. These indicators allow council to measure the CEO’s performance and focus on significant decisions that have come out of the Enhanced Annual Plan deliberations and other key tasks.

These include leading the development of the next Long-Term plan, reviewing the rating system for water and wastewater charges and reviewing the general rating differential system.

Sitting alongside these indicators are other overarching long-term indicators relating to health and safety, risk management, cultural awareness and customer satisfaction.

Council acknowledges the Buller community’s significant contribution to this consultation process, in terms of both time and effort given by individuals and community groups.

We understand the very real challenges the community is currently facing with the rising cost of living and going forward, will do all that is possible to balance delivery of essential services with affordability.


For further information please contact:
Buller District Council
Community Engagement Team