Community Outlook: 19-01-23
Tuatapere Te Waewae Community Board Meeting
17th January 2023, Waiau Town and Country Club at 3:30pm
All members in attendance with a number of supporting Council Staff.
Direction Setting Report
The main item on the agenda for this meeting was to finalise the Direction Setting Report for the Annual Plan 2023/2024.
Five options were prepared by Council Staff to reduce the proposed rate increase for the next rating period. The reduction was to be funded by reducing the amount allocated to Community Grants or by funding a portion of the Community Grants from reserves.
Full details of the five options can be found in the agenda of the meeting at southland.infocouncil.biz.
The Community Board chose the fifth option, which was also recommended by Council staff. This option results in no increase in Community Board rates for the next rating period by reducing the funds allocated to Community Grants with no funding from reserves. However, the Community Board does have additional unspent reserves (from projects not carried out due to COVID-19) that could be put toward Community funding if a specific need arose.
This means that the Community Partnership Fund will be significantly reduced for 2023/2024 to a little over $13,000. The criteria for grants will likely be tightened ensuring grants are awarded to groups/causes that are more aligned with benefiting the Community.
As a result, the Community Board component of Council Rates, for the next rating period, should not change or change very little from $337.55 (full rate unit). Note: this is only a small component of a typical rate notice. The proposed average increase to rates from Council, as set out in the Long Term Plan, was around 6% for the 2023/2024 rating period. But as we are all aware, our Community pays well above this average. It will be some time before Council will have the final details of rates for the next rating period. Council staff indicated that they are trying to ‘trim’ operational costs wherever possible.
Costs associated with Community Halls were discussed. These costs make up a significant portion of the Community Board rates as the halls cost much more to maintain than the income they bring in. The table below summarises income vs cost over the last 5 years.
|Income||Operating Costs||Capital Costs|
|Tuatapere (RSA) Hall||$3,206.63||$73,341.71||$0.00|
The limited use of the Clifden Hall was highlighted and consideration is being given to selling this hall once community input has been reviewed. Note: if this hall is sold, those in the area would contribute to the next closest hall, reducing the rating contribution for those halls by a small amount. The funds from the sale could be used to maintain other halls, further reducing costs for a period of time.
The rate contribution paid toward the cost of a hall, typically the one closest to the ratepayer, are outlined in the table below:
|Clifden Hall Rate||$96.52||$104.46||+$7.94|
|Orawia Hall Rate||$95.44||$85.34||-$10.10|
|Orepuki Hall Rate||$100.09||$87.81||-$12.28|
|Tuatapere (RSA) Rate||$50.50||$47.36||-$3.14|
The next meeting will be held on the 7th of February, 2023.
Additional thoughts and info
One of the Community Board members raised a question that had been asked by a member of the community in relation to whether Forestry pays rates. Council Staff indicated that yes, Forestry pays significant rates and they would provide specific detail at a later time.
It concerns me that there is so much misinformation in the community surrounding Forestry. When Forestry was one of the main income generating industries in Tuatapere, Tuatapere had almost three times the population it does today and was a much more vibrant community. However, both Tuatapere and Forestry have changed considerably since that time.
Forestry, in fact, pays some of the highest rates of the non-residential sectors (except for Mining) in proportion to land value. This includes roading rates. The Council’s Long Term Plan provides a breakdown and examples of rates for various sectors. Based on these examples a comparison is provided below:
|Sector||Rate/Capital Value||Total Revenue 2021/2022|
|Sector||Capital Value||Total Rates 2021/2022||Rates/Capital Value|
A recent Council meeting addressed many of the misconceptions in the community surrounding Forestry e.g. environmental issues, fire risk, land degradation – all were found to be incorrect. I’m hoping to put together some details around this so the community is a little more aware of the benefits that increased Forestry can bring to the province and to dispel some of the misinformation.
You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions or raise issues related to this post.