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Where do my rates go? Why you should get involved in the Annual Plan process (and it closes soon!)

Council spending is always a hot topic - too much money on this, too little on that and spending on things that some people think Council’s shouldn’t even be involved in. But did you know that you can become involved in this spending? That you can fight for what you think is the most important spending area? You do need to put in a little effort though, and most people don’t. This is a great opportunity to get involved and make changes for what you think is important.

Here’s a bit of information on what it’s all about.

What is the annual plan?

Every year, the council must adopt an annual budget (Annual Plan) for the following financial year, as well as identify variations from any budgets that have been allocated in the 10-year budget (Long-term Plan). The latest annual plan was released last November and details of Auckland Council's proposed spending plan for 2019 to 2020.

What’s the aim of the Annual Plan?

The purpose of the Annual Plan is to target spending on Council activities. The plan also provides a budget for generation of revenue. The Annual Plan is vital for directing the spending of a Council and as a result what activities can be funded.

This year a key focus is on helping Auckland's most vulnerable with a proposed $5 million going to the City Mission's HomeGround housing and social services project to address homelessness in the city. However, the bulk of Auckland Council's spending ($1.2 billion) will go towards transport infrastructure with additional spending on transport coming from the new fuel tax. Other areas covered in Auckland Council's annual budget include protecting Kauri, dealing with illegal dumping, water quality improvement and gearing towards paying council staff a living wage from September next year.

This year’s plan also includes proposals to increase fees for cost recovery, including rating, resource consents, building controls, harbour master fees and animal management fees. Your can read more about the proposed changes to fees here.

Specifically relating to applications for resource consent, proposed increases in deposit fees include a Bundled Consent increase from $5000 to $7000, Boundary Adjustment increase from $1500 to $2000, while Land-use Consent applications (four or more dwellings) or non-residential will reduce from $5000 to $4500. Remember, deposits are an estimate of likely costs and you may be charged more or less depending on the actual time involved in processing the consent.

How can you get involved?

The democratic process relies on members of the public getting involved and decisions on Council spending are no exception. When it comes to Council, it’s more often more effective to anticipate and work proactively with the Council, rather than complain after the fact, yet few of us take the time to consider and provide feedback to these processes. You can’t fairly complain about something later if you didn’t bother to get involved at the start when you had the opportunity.

So, if you are serious about making change for the better in Auckland, get involved!

How do I get involved this year?

Here’s a timeline to help you with the process of contributing to the annual spend.

Auckland Council’s Annual Plan Timeline: the Mayor delivered his proposal for the Annual Budget 2019/2020 on 29 November 2018. From 17 February to 17 March 2019, Auckland Council will consult on:

  • rating matters including:

- increase to the waste management targeted rate base service charge,

- extending the food scraps collection targeted rates to the North Shore former trial area properties,

- phasing out the Waitākere rural sewerage service and targeted rate,

- adjusting the urban rating area,

- changes to rating of religious use properties.

  • increases to some fees to maintain cost recovery.

After consultation, elected members will review feedback and make decisions in May 2019 and finalise the budget in June 2019.

You will be able to have your say on the annual budget from 17 February 2019 to 17 March 2019. After consultation, elected members will review feedback and make decisions in May 2019 and finalise the budget in June 2019.

If you’d like to contribute, head to the Have Your Say.

Tracy is a Planner with an M.Sc. in Resource Management.

Tracy has worked assisting Senior Planners with the preparation and lodgement of resource consent applications, as well as planning. She also provided support in client liaison, contractor engagement and general communications.

Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.

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