The proposed 2022-23 Annual Plan and amendments to the 2021-31 Long-term Plan were approved unanimously at today’s meeting of the Council’s Pūroro Maherehere Annual Plan-Long-term Plan Committee.
They feature two key items on which the Council wants feedback – how the Council’s social housing should be funded and the operating model for it, and the future of the Southern Landfill.
“The Council housing model is broken. It is currently too expensive for both tenants and the Council,” says Mayor Andy Foster.
“We are looking at other ways of running it, including establishing a community housing provider (CHP). This would allow new, eligible tenants to access the Government’s Income Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS), which is not available to Council housing tenants. It would also establish a business model enabling us to build more social housing in Wellington without incurring even greater losses.
“The Southern Landfill will be full by 2026 which is also when its resource consent will expire. We have narrowed options down to closing it and transporting our waste elsewhere, extending it, or opting instead to incinerate most of our rubbish.
“We want to hear people’s views on these issues,” Mayor Foster says.
Depending on the decisions on these issues, changes may need to be made to the Long-term Plan. These are significant choices and are an important focus for this consultation.
The Council is also consulting on the 2022-23 draft Annual Plan. It outlines the projects and programmes the Council intends to deliver over the coming year, their cost, how they will be financed, and changes to some Council fees and charges.
An average rates increase of 8.9% (after deductions for growth in the city’s rating base) is proposed - below the average 9.1% forecast in the Council’s 2021–31 Long-term Plan.
Mayor Foster says: “These numbers are challenging but our community told us emphatically during Long-term Plan consultation last year that they want the Council to invest more in infrastructure and restoration of key buildings.”
The rates increase is driven by four issues:
The interest and depreciation costs of committed capital expenditure projects, some going back several years
COVID-related revenue and cost impacts
Increased inflation - originally budgeted at 2%, now forecast at around 7%
Increased interest costs.
Mayor Foster says the Council has worked hard to deliver operating cost savings to help mitigate these impacts on rates and continues to explore saving opportunities. “We have achieved significant savings in operating costs which are likely to be about $17 million in this current year and previous year. As well as proposed further savings of $15 million in the plan for 2022-23.”
Councillor Rebecca Matthews, Chair of the Pūroro Maherehere Annual Plan-Long-term Plan Committee, says: “I look forward to the community participating in the consultation and hearing their views on the housing and waste amendments and the overall Annual Plan for 2022-23. I encourage Wellingtonians to get involved.”
People have four weeks to give feedback on the Special Consultations on City Housing and the Landfill and on the draft budget, with public submissions due by 15 May. The easiest way to make a submission is online at www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz, or pick up the consultation document and a submission form at your local library.