I received in my email box before the council meeting this memo:
I’m getting in touch to let you know that on Thursday 24 February, the Mayor and Councillors will consider Christchurch City Council’s Draft Annual Plan 2022/23 our annual budget and work programme.
The plan outlines what the Council will spend on projects and day-to-day services over the next financial year and how it will be financed.
Since our Long Term Plan (LTP) 2021–31 was confirmed last year, the economic environment in Christchurch has been affected by the same factors that the whole world is navigating as we live with COVID-19 – inflation, supply chain issues, productivity challenges and more.
We also have significant Government reforms on the horizon. All this means the playing field is uncertain, but the adjustments we are recommending in our draft budget will give us the flexibility to respond as and when we need to.
Our books are balanced and we are going to keep investing in doing the basics and doing them well whilst keeping costs as low as possible for our ratepayers. We have prioritised spending on our water supply network, our transport network and our facilities.
Climate change adaptation is another important focus of this budget.
We are in a changing environment and being realistic about what we can afford and deliver has been key to this draft Annual Plan. We have reviewed the whole capital programme with a laser focus on deliverability and affordability – if we’re not likely to be able to complete the work in 2022/23, there’s no need to charge the ratepayer for it at this stage.
You can read the Draft Annual Plan 2022/23 in the agenda here. The main proposals are:
- This means:
- An average proposed rates increase for a typical household of 4.82%. A typical house is one with a capital value of $508,608.
- An average proposed rates increase for a typical business property of 4.93%. A typical business property is one with a capital value of $1,858,572.
- An average proposed rates increase for a typical remote rural property of 4.39%. A typical farm is one with a capital value of $1,039,580.
- Operational expenditure – spending on everyday services such as rubbish collection – of $524.4 million. That is $9.5 million more than what was in the LTP.
- Capital expenditure – spending on the construction of facilities and infrastructure – of $615.4 million. This is $72.4 million less than what was in the LTP.
- Borrowing for the capital programme is $57 million less than planned.
If the budget is adopted by Councillors at their Thursday 24 February meeting, it will go out for public feedback from Friday 11 March to Monday 18 April.
I’ll be in touch again at the start of the consultation period.
Then, however, at the meeting several items were changed. In the Press report of the meeting, they stated:
Christchurch’s coffers look likely to be dipped into a bit further, as city councillors add a handful of projects to their newly proposed budget.
At a meeting on Thursday, councillors proposed giving a $3 million grant to Edgeware Pool, putting nearly $2m towards fixing a polluted stream, and using $400,000 from a fund to help build a community centre in Parklands.
The proposals were late additions to the city’s draft annual plan, effectively a budget, for 2022-23.
The late additions have had a small effect on next year’s proposed rate increase – instead of being an average increase of 4.92 per cent, the proposed increase is now 4.96 per cent.
Here’s the Press report:
I think it’s fundamentally wrong when a CEO produces a document which makes statements like:
An overall average rate increase across all ratepayers of 4.92% – less than the 4.97% indicated in the LTP.
This email assumes that the executive controls the council table even if it stated If the budget is adopted. I do not consider it is the role of the executive to announce the budget until it is approved by the full council. Until the vote has been taken by all those at the council anything can change, because that is the right of the elected reps. They are the authority. Not the executive.