News | 11 April 2022
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Feedback sought on rates levy for Wellington’s new sludge minimisation facility

Wellington City Council is seeking ratepayer feedback on the use of the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act 2020 (IFFA) to finance the development of the proposed new wastewater sludge minimisation facility (SMF) at Moa Point.

Moa Point treatment plant in Miramar, viewed from the hillside above.
Moa Point treatment plant

The new facility will dramatically reduce volumes of sludge being disposed of at the Southern Landfill – by more than 80 percent – and allow Wellington to get on with reducing general waste to landfill and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

“This facility is a significant and critical investment in our city’s future and one for which we received a mandate through our Long-Term Plan consultation last year,” says the Council’s Chief Infrastructure Officer Siobhan Procter.

“Not only will the facility break the link between the landfill and sludge as volumes increase with population growth, but it will enable resilient, sustainable and climate friendly waste management.”

In its Long-Term Plan (LTP) consultation in June 2021, Wellington City Council stated its preferred option for the project was construction of the facility at Moa Point, to be financed using the IFFA – which applies a levy on beneficiaries (in this case ratepayers subject to general rates) to pay the cost of financing over time.

“With the facility progressing through the design phase, we have been able to update the proposed levy structure to reflect the estimated range of construction costs” says Siobhan.

“We’re inviting both residential and commercial ratepayers to provide their feedback on these updated levy rates that will support repayment of the IFFA loan over time.

“The suggested levy is based on the latest Capital Values (CVs) and a proposed cost split of 60 percent residential ratepayers and 40 percent commercial ratepayers (which is consistent with existing wastewater charging policy).”

Feedback is sought on the estimate of the levy cost in the first year, as set out below.

For example, the estimated levy on a residential property with a CV of $750,000 would range from between $75.49 to $104.49 per annum. The levy on a commercial property with a CV of $2 million would range between $654.98 to $906.53 per annum.

The public can give feedback on the proposed levy structure and the project in general from Friday 8 April 2022 at Kōrero mai | Wellington City Council. Feedback will close on Tuesday 19 April 2022.

Siobhan says it’s highly likely that prices may increase further as the project progresses through the design phase and external factors such as COVID-19, construction sector demand and material shortages are factored in.

“However, this is the best information we have at this time. The Council may also be responsible for paying a project contingency, if required, over and above the amount funded by the levy

“It’s also important to note that while the current engagement is focused on the rates levy, people can also provide feedback on the project as part of this. Given the project will require a number of consents, the community will have further opportunity to have their say as part of the hearing process.

“Once the consents are granted, which we expect to be completed around mid-2022, funding will be finalised and if that’s agreed, construction could be underway by 2023.”