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Council continues to drive value for money with amenities funding

Published: 28 February 2018

The Finance and Performance Committee yesterday agreed the Auckland Council submission to the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board Draft Funding Plan 2018/2019.

There was discussion regarding amenities funding under the Act and the impact that this has had on funding in recent years, as well as discussion about future funding options and accountabilities.

Total funding under the Act has increased from $8,700,000 in 2009 to $16,165,500 in the 2017/18 year. As the region continues to grow, these amenities will serve a larger population. Concern was expressed regarding future projected levy increases, being $18,644,572 for 2019/2020 and $19,014,415 for 2020/21 years, as these were showing more dramatic increases than seen in previous years.

Council requested a statement of compliance with the funding principles be included in the funding plan that will be submitted to council so that council is able to make an informed decision on the amount of the levy in April, as well as a statement of individual amenities’ alignment with Auckland Plan outcomes so that it is clear to both the council and the public how the investment of ratepayer funds are contributing to the Auckland Plan outcomes.

The Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act 2008 states that funding is only available if the amenity has made all reasonable endeavours to maximise its funding from other available funding sources.  In other words, Council is meant to be the funder of last resort.

Below is a summary of the decisions made at the committee.

Items 1 to 4 and 7 and 8 were administrative items.

Item 5: Public Input

The committee received and noted public input from Ms Penny Bright regarding the s17a ‘Value for Money’ review of Auckland Council and CCO services. 

Item 6: Local Board input

The committee thanked Mrs Lisa Whyte, Chairperson of the Upper Harbour Local Board for her address regarding the proposed disposal of Lot 14, 61-117 Clark Road, Hobsonville.

Item 9: Presentations from the Regional Amenities Funding Board

Presentations were received from:

Auckland Arts Festival (David Inns, Shona Roberts, John Judge)

Surf Life Saving Northern Region (Matt Williams, Denise Bovaird)

Coastguard Northern Region (Callum Gillespie, Neil Bradley)

Auckland Theatre Company (Lester McGrath, Linden Tierney, Gordon Moller)

Stardome (David Houldsworth, Melissa Glew).

The presentations outlined the work being done with the assistance of council funding by each of the organisations to provide civic amenities to Aucklanders. The Committee thanked the representatives for their attendance and the information provided.

Item 10: Auckland Regional Amenities Draft Funding Plan 2018/19 – proposed Council submission

The Finance and Performance Committee agreed the Auckland Council submission to the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board Draft Funding Plan 2018/2019.

Concern was expressed regarding future projected levy increases, being $18,644,572 for 2019/2020 and $19,014,415 for 2020/21 years. Total funding under the Act has increased from $8,700,000 in 2009 to $16,165,500 in the 2017/18 year. The Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act 2008 states that funding is only available if the amenity has made all reasonable endeavours to maximise its funding from other available funding sources. 

Item 11: Disposals recommendations – February 2018

The Committee approved the disposal, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of any required statutory processes, and subject some conditions of sale in order to protect the heritage values of a local church, to the disposal of 61-117 Clark Road, Hobsonville,

Item 12: Service Property Optimisation – 37 New Windsor Road, Avondale

The Finance and Performance Committee approved, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of any statutory processes, the disposal of the Arthur Currey Reserve of 37 New Windsor Road, Avondale. Sale proceeds resulting from the optimisation of this service property will be ring-fenced for reinvestment into Whau Local Board’s eligible projects.

Item 13: Monthly Budget Update February 2018

ATEED:

  • The Finance and Performance Committee approved $3.2 million of capital expenditure in 2018/2019 for the fit-out of the new head office of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and $0.8 million of operational expenditure budget in 2018/2019 for the make good of ATEED’s current head office at 139 Quay Street. This is because the current lease expires at the end of the calendar 2018 year.
  • The Committee also noted that ATEED staff have compared both landlord funded and council procured fit out programme and assessed as the latter as providing better value over the 9 year lease term.
  • It was recognised that this was not provisioned for in the ATEED budget as it should have been.

 Rawene Road slip:

  • Council engineers sought $3.85 million of capital expenditure for remedial works in connection with the Rawene Road slip at Birkenhead. These include $2 million for emergency works competed and $1.85 million, (of which $0.85 million is a variable estimate), for the consultancy, investigation and design costs for the permanent stabilisation solution in 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.
  • These are unbudgeted physical works to stabilise the site and there will be further costs once the design of the permanent solution is known. More details will be brought back to the March Finance and Performance Committee.

City Centre Targeted Rate:

  • The updated City Centre Targeted Rate funded work programme for 2017/2018 was approved.

Property acquisitions:

  • Property acquisitions at a total cost of up to $16 million, provided for from Auckland Transport’s capital programme timing adjustment in 2017/2018 for both 155-167 Fanshawe Street, Auckland, and 100 Halsey Street, Auckland, were approved.

Item 14: Council’s Debt Funding Strategy

The Finance and Performance Committee noted the PwC report was supportive of Council’s debt funding strategy and Council’s use of offshore debt markets was consistent, prudent and efficient. Mr Stuart Henderson, Partner, Treasury and Debt Advisory, Price Waterhouse Coopers, was present to respond to this item.

Item 15: Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate Remission

The Committee agreed to consult on a remission scheme to remit the Accommodation provider targeted rate (APTR). It was noted that this would be the subject of further consultation.

Item 16: Rates remission and postponement policy review

The Finance and Performance Committee agreed to consult on the proposed amendments to the Rates remission and postponement policy. It was noted that this would be the subject of further consultation. Responsibility for finalising consultation was delegated to the Chair of the Finance and Performance Committee and the Chief Financial Officer.

Item 17: Value for Money (S17A) Review implantation and progress update

The Finance and Performance Committee received the progress updates for the value for money reviews on Three Waters Review, Domestic Waste Services Review, Communication & Engagement Services Review, and the Investment Attraction & Global Partnerships Review. These are to report on the feasibility and time frame for implementation of the recommendations as well as to report on implementation progress.

Twenty-three action areas were identified to support the twenty-eight recommendations made in the reviews. Respective business managers across the group have developed implementation plans for these actions and information was provided on each review area, as well as how these actions will be implemented and current progress.

The Auckland’s Waters Strategy will incorporate the Three Waters Strategy and Policy recommended through the S17A review. This will be developed by June 2019 by Auckland Council, working collaboratively with Watercare, Auckland Transport, New Zealand Transport Agency, mana whenua and other relevant parties.

A joint working team has been established to progress the findings of the s17a review relating to joint procurement, capital planning, and operations and maintenance. Anticipated savings and an action plan for achieving these will be provided to the May meeting of the Finance and Performance Committee.

The final Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018 will be presented to the June Environment and Community Committee for approval. Additional budget of up to $150,000 was approved to fund an independent review of the value and options for Auckland Council’s ownership of key waste assets and services. Further actions arising from the Domestic Waste: Value for Money (S17A) Review will be reported to the November Finance and Performance Committee.

An additional budget request of up to $350k was reduced to ‘up to’ $150k to fund an independent review of the value and options for Auckland Council’s ownership of key waste assets and services.  This reduction was supported by staff.

Item 18: Finance and Performance Committee – Information Report – 27 February 2018

The Finance and Performance Committee received the information report – 27 February 2018.

The agenda is available on Auckland Council’s website and minutes will be added once confirmed. This meeting was also webcast on the council’s website and items are available on demand.