Part A: Introduction

Annual Plan 2019/20 – key changes from Our 10-Year Plan

This section outlines the main changes in Annual Plan 2019/20 from what was outlined in Our 10-Year Plan 2018–28.

Re-phasing of the capital works programme

The capital programme outlined in Our 10-Year Plan included substantial investment across a variety of projects. In 2018/19 and 2019/20 a portion of this programme has been re-phased to later years or carried out over a longer period of time.

The drivers for re-phasing included:

Details of the variances are included in Part B: Our Work in Detail.

Fees and user chargesTop

Many of our services are paid for through a combination of rates and user charges. We proposed several changes to fees and user charges to ensure our services remain within the settings of the Revenue and Financing Policy. These changes also ensure users of services continue to pay their fair share of the service provided.

Increased fees include:

Details of the fee changes are included in Part C: Financial Information.

Rates differential Top

The average rates increase for ratepayers in 2019/20 is 3.9 percent, after accounting for growth in the ratepayer base. The forecast increase varies between each property in a rating category. All rating units (or part thereof) are classified, for the purposes of general rates, as either ‘Commercial, Industrial and Business’ (Commercial) or ‘Base’ (‘Base’ includes residential).

In 2018/19 there was a rates differential for the Commercial, Industrial and Business rating category of 2.8 times the rate per dollar of capital value payable by the Base rating category. In setting the level of the differential we consider the requirements of the Local Government Act. These considerations can be found in our Revenue and Financing Policy on our website, wellington.govt.nz

The general rates differential will be adjusted from 2.8:1 to 3.25:1 to ensure the rates for 2019/20 continue to be paid in the same proportion by each differential rating category.

In simple terms, this currently means that Commercial property owners contribute 44% of total rates revenue in 2018/19 in comparison to Base contributing 56%. Due to the significant change in the relative Rateable Values (which do not necessarily change the relative ability to pay), changing the general rate differential to 3.25:1 will maintain this ratio at 44% Commercial, Industrial and Business to 56% Base.

Refer to the indicative rates increase and indicative rates tables in Part C: Financial Information for indicative residential and commercial property rates for 2019/20.

Rates remission policy Top

The Rates Remission Policy for the remission titled ‘remission of targeted rates on property under development or earthquake strengthening’ has been updated. This allows for a rates remission on an identifiable part of a property which is under development or earthquake strengthening. This removes the potential to incentivise property owners to vacate the entire property where part of that property is under development or earthquake strengthening. It will allow owners to remain in the habitable portion of their property while still being eligible for a rates remission on the portion of the property that is under development or earthquake strengthening. The amended policy can be found in Part D: Appendices and on our website, wellington.govt.nz

Changes since 2019/20 Annual Plan consultationTop

Wellington City Library: The decision to close the Central Library was made shortly before consultation on the Annual Plan commenced. Work on understanding the implications of the closure was carried out throughout the consultation period. The overall financial impact of the closure on operational expenditure, including lost revenue from the basement carpark and the café tenancy, is $3.6 million per year.

In addition to the operational expenditure impact, we will need to invest $6.0 million of capital expenditure to fit out alternative solutions in the CBD to meet the service gap. The first new facility, Arapaki Manners Library, opened in May and provides library services combined with Council’s Service Centre.

Due to the timing of the Central Library closure in relation to the annual planning cycle, Council has agreed to debt fund the net additional expenditure in 2019/20 and budget for this additional expenditure through the next annual and long-term plans.

WREMO funding: The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) coordinates civil defence and emergency management services on behalf of the nine councils in the Wellington region. Since we consulted on the annual plan, an additional $140,000 has been budgeted in 2019/20 for our share of the regional agreement.

Bus priority improvements: The operation of public transport in Wellington is the responsibility of Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC). Wellington City Council’s role is to provide road space for the services. Through consultation on the Annual Plan, we heard that public transport issues continue to frustrate residents.

Since consultation on the Annual Plan, Council has endorsed the work being undertaken by GWRC and WCC to deliver a joint action plan of bus priority improvements. Increasing the priority for buses on our road space is one of the tools that we can use to make it easier for buses to move around reliably, at a reasonable speed and on time. The plan will be implemented within existing budgets and will be aligned to the outcomes of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme.

Indoor arena: The capital budget of $511,000 in 2019/20 for the indoor arena has been removed, after consultation on the Annual Plan. This budget can be removed without delaying progress on the arena as no capital expenditure is needed in 2019/20.

Special waste fees: A recent health and safety review has raised the need for new equipment at the landfill to safely dispose of asbestos. This equipment has been purchased and an increase in the special waste fee for asbestos is effective from 1 July 2019. The fee is $203.60 per tonne and can be found in Part C: Financial information, Fees and user charges section, as ‘Special waste fee – Type A’.