Canterbury Environment opens consultation for fare increase options

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Cantabrians will be asked to consider a 24.5% rate hike next year by its regional council, which is subjecting it to government and community expectations.

Photo: Supplied / ECan

It is one of two options in its draft 2021-2031 long-term plan consultation paper released this week.

The council, also known as Canterbury Environment (ECan), said the average total rate each property would pay under Option 1 for the next fiscal year was $ 591.10 – down from 455.04 $ for the current year 2020/21 (increase of $ 136.06).

This is ECan’s preferred viewing option.

ECan said the 24.5% figure is the amount of money it receives from tariffs would increase in 2021/22.

This is not the percentage that each taxpayer’s bill would increase, as it depends on the location and value of the property.

Among the reasons to recommend Option 1 were the delivery of the government’s essential freshwater package, reducing emissions via public transport, economic recovery from Covid-19, flood protection and change. climate.

Option 1 would require approximately $ 246.5 million in activities in 2021/22, which is $ 46 million more than the current spending for 2020/21.

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ECan said it does not expect taxpayers to pay for all of the labor included in this option.

He suggests using a combination of funding sources.

For example, in 2021/22, he proposes to use $ 43.6 million in grants from the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for public transport, and $ 25.3 million in central government support for wild pines and river engineering / flood control works in Jobs for Nature and Covid-19 recovery projects.

It is also proposing to use $ 40 million in user pay fees and other revenue from things like consent requests, swing moorings, bus fares and other activities.

This would leave $ 143 million to be paid by taxpayers in the region for Option 2.

“The ability to pay people has been at the forefront of the Board’s discussions, and some of the investments we are proposing are aimed at meeting existing commitments or attracting funding from other sources, allowing us to produce more, including jobs that support the recovery of Covid, ”he said. Said Jenny Hughey.

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Option 2

In Option 2, which is not the preferred option by ECan for consultation, it proposes an 18% tariff increase.

The average total price each property would pay in 2021/22 would be $ 565.59, compared to $ 455.04 currently (increase of $ 110.55).

ECan said Option 2 was a balance between increased demand for action, allowing Covid-19 recovery projects while focusing on meeting legal obligations.

He said new areas of spending needed to be included, such as improvements to public transport services already underway, government packages for essential freshwater and biodiversity, and Covid-19 recovery projects.

Option 2 will see $ 240.2 million in activity in 2021/22, an increase of $ 40 million from the current year.

ECan said the option was offered to be funded through $ 41.9 million in grants from the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for public transportation and $ 25.3 million in central government support for public transportation. wild pine trees and river / flood control engineering works in Jobs for Nature and Covid-19 recovery projects.

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It is also expected to be funded through $ 41.7 million in user fees and other revenue from things like consent requests, swing moorings, bus fares and other activities.

This would leave $ 135 million to be paid by taxpayers for Option 2.

“We know it’s not a trivial amount of money, but there is also a price to be paid if we don’t keep taking action,” Hughey said.

Environment Canterbury Chair Jenny Hughey.

Jenny Hughey
Photo: Supplied / ECan

“These are big decisions and the board is looking for feedback from the community. It is important that we hear your views. We urge the community to be informed, to consider what is important, and to tell the board what you think.

The draft long-term plan will be presented to councilors on Thursday.

The public consultation will take place from March 8 to April 11.

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