Waitaki District Council 2023-24 Annual Plan set for adoption

Published on 23 June 2023

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The report to adopt the 2023-24 Annual Plan at a Council Meeting on Tuesday 27 June 2023 is currently under consideration by the Waitaki District Mayor and Councillors. Mayor for Waitaki Gary Kircher said “I want to acknowledge the tremendous amount of work that has gone into this Annual Plan, by Council staff and our Governance Team, but also the many people who took the time to give us feedback – it has been appreciated! This has been a very challenging year for all of us, amid rising inflation and increasing pressure on everyone’s costs of living. Coping with that and still maintaining the many services provided by Council has not been easy.”

When Council prepared the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan, a 9.3% average rates increase was forecast for 2023-24. However, with high inflation since then, the starting point had climbed to a potential rates rise of around 15%, if changes weren’t made. After a lengthy process of review and reconsideration, the Governance Team, working with Council officers, have managed to keep the average rates increase to 7.95% for the year ahead. (This is an average rates increase only, with the main variation driven by water rates).

A high level of public interest was generated around the level of funding support for the Waitaki Sports and Event Centre. The decision on the level of funding commitment is significant for the community and Council will be considering the wellbeing benefits the Centre will bring to Waitaki, as well as the ongoing costs to operate the facility.

Council expects to make a decision on the level of funding commitment to the Waitaki Sports and Event Centre as part of the adoption of the 2023-24 Annual Plan. The 2023-24 Annual Plan reflects the level of overall funding that was committed to the project in the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.

Another proposal under consideration was to transfer the management of the Maheno Water Supply scheme to Council. Changing legislation and requirements for water operations resulted in the Maheno Water Supply Committee approaching Council 12months ago to discuss options for Council to take over the Maheno Water Supply that they operated as a private scheme. Council and the Maheno Water Supply Committee have signed an agreement for this to take effect from 1 July 2023.

Mayor for Waitaki Gary Kircher acknowledged the outstanding work that the Maheno Water Supply Committee has done as stewards of drinking water in Maheno, “The Committee has owned and operated the supply for over 80 years, largely run by volunteers, and they have done a brilliant job – we thank them for their service to their community. It hasn’t been easy for them, given the increasingly demanding legislative requirements around providing drinking water to communities.”

Talking about the next steps, Council Chief Executive, Alex Parmley, said, “Once the Annual Plan is agreed, this is then the programme of work and budget for the Council for the year ahead. Whilst we have had to reduce some of the things we planned to do to keep the rate rise down, it still represents an ambitious plan that will see investment many improvements for the district, on top of our normal business of service delivery. My team and I look forward to working with our communities to implement this programme and to deliver the changes we have planned to improve how Council delivers, through our Transformation Programme.”

Council invites the community to read the 2023-24 Annual Plan when it is published on Council’s website next week, and looks forward to continued work with residents to make Waitaki the best place to be.