30 April 2020
Eight key strategies to guide the development of Rotorua Lakes Council’s 2020/21 annual plan were approved at a Full Council meeting today.
The council was asked to formally adopt the guiding strategies that were endorsed during an elected members’ annual plan forum last week.
Presenting to elected members today, Council’s Strategy Group Manager, Jean-Paul Gaston, said it would be important to retain some decision-making flexibility to enable council to be responsive to emerging impacts and strategies coming through from business sector groups set up as part of Rotorua’s recovery plan. Council would also need to constantly review what it was doing and adapt as/when things changed, he said.
The guiding strategies adopted today:
- Responding to circumstances but maintaining direction;
- Provide for cushioning the blow (eg carrying rates deferral forward into the next financial year);
- A prudent approach to rating;
- Directly investing in recovery;
- Prudent use of debt funding;
- Planning to adapt and managing risk;
- Responding to emerging adverse impacts;
- Economic recovery planning.
Prior to COVID-19 the council held a number of workshops to guide the direction of the annual plan and had been looking at an approximately 8.1% rates increase, driven by increased costs primarily for wastewater, water and refuse services. However, a re-shape was needed to reflect the impact of the pandemic and the need for economic recovery work, Mr Gaston said.
Resourcing would be needed to work in partnership with Government and others to shape recovery actions and the outcome of council’s application to Crown Infrastructure Partners for potential Government funding of ‘shovel-ready’ projects was unknown, as was any potential funding requirement of Council regarding these.
It was intended that a prudent approach be taken to rates to minimise any increase as much as possible, he said. Prudent use of operating debt funding needed to be considered to support recovery and minimise rates increases while maintaining core/essential services.
The council organisation was taking a hard look at areas for potential savings to contribute to keeping rates as low as possible.
There was also a need to not lose sight of Council’s role under the Local Government Act relating to community wellbeing and the long-term 2030 direction in which the welbeings were reflected, Mr Gaston said.
Asked about assisting ratepayers, other than those targeted by the rates referral scheme, who were struggling to pay rates, Council’s Chief Financial Officer Thomas Collé said support was available for others too and discussions were also underway with a number of tenants leasing council properties.
The recommendation to adopt the proposed guiding strategies to develop the 2020/21 annual plan was approved with Cr Reynold Macpherson noting that he abstained from voting.
Go to p59 of the Council meeting agenda for the full report on this matter.
A document outlining the background thinking for Rotorua’s recovery plan can be viewed HERE
Also on the agenda . . .
Council unanimously endorsed additional pro-local economy procurement practices that have already been adopted by Rotorua Lakes Council and supported the development of a wider sustainable procurement framework. Proposed policy changes will go back to Council for sign-off. Go to p47 of the meeting agenda HERE to view the full report on this matter.
Council received an update on the “shovel-ready” projects that have been submitted to Crown Infrastructure Partners for consideration for Government funding. Go to p34 of the Council meeting agenda to view the full report on this, including details about Rotorua projects submitted to CIP by the council and NZTA for consideration. See more about the projects submitted to CIP by Rotorua Lakes Council HERE on Council’s website.
Council adopted an updated Dangerous, Affected & Insanitary Building Policy on the recommendation of the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee which considered the matter on 12 March. See p32 of today’s meeting agenda HERE for the report on this matter.
Council approved for public release the Rotorua Lakes Council Local Governance Statement 2019-2022 as required under the Local Government Act. The statement sets out the decision-making structure and processes adopted by the council following their induction after the 2019 elections. See p56 of today’s meeting agenda HERE for the report on this.
Council also endorsed amendments to the Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA) foundation documents and authorised the chief executive and two elected members to execute the documents that allow Council to continue participating with LGFA. See p62 of today’s meeting agenda HERE regarding this matter.
Today’s meeting, which was conducted using Zoom, was livestreamed and a recording of the public portion of the meeting is available to view at THIS LINK on Council’s YouTube channel.
The agenda and attachments can be found HERE on Council’s website.