How does the Council's planning process work?
Every three years – part way through each election term – the city is required to develop and adopt a long-term plan. In the years between long-term plans annual plans are produced that outline any changes to the budget. At the end of each year, an annual report and summary annual report let the community know about what’s been achieved and how we have performed, as well as anything that hasn’t quite gone to plan or anything unexpected that’s come up.
What is an annual plan?
Annual plans are produced for the years between long-term plans. Annual plans give us the opportunity to refresh information and budgets for the coming year, and include the setting of rates.
Why do our rates increase every year?
The Council sets its budget each year. New activities and the quality or quantity of our services determine how much money the Council needs to collect.
Your property value determines the share of the rates increase that you will pay relative to other property owners in the city.
How are properties valued?
The Council contracts Quotable Value to perform property revaluations every three years. Quotable Value determines the value of your property by looking at the selling price of similar properties in the area.
Why can councils choose not to consult on annual plans?
A series of amendments were made to the Local Government Act 2002 (the Act) in 2014 to encourage new ways of consulting and communicating with the community.
One of these amendments removed the requirement for councils to formally consult “if there are no significant or material differences to the content of the long-term plan”. This now makes formal consultation on proposed annual plans exceptions based.
An annual plan that includes an overview of any minor changes in costs (along with all other information required under Part 2 of Schedule 10 of the Act) must still be prepared and adopted by council resolution before 1 July.
How do we determine what's significant
Section 5 of the Local Government Act 2002 (the Act) describes “significance” as the degree of importance of any issue, proposal, decision, or matter, as assessed by the local authority, in terms of its likely impact on, and consequences for:
- the city (district) or region
- anyone likely to be particularly affected or interested
- the capacity of the local authority to perform its role, and the financial and other costs of doing so.
Section 5 also describes “significant” as any issue, proposal, decision, or other matter having a “high degree of significance, that is:
- significant or material variations/departures from the financial statements or funding impact statement in the long-term plan
- significant new spending proposals, and the associated costs, or
- substantial delays to, or cancellation of, significant projects, and associated implications.
The Council is required to have a significance and engagement policy under Section 76AA of the Local Government Act 2002. The Policy is reviewed every three years as part of long-term plans.
Significance is more than a financial impact, and often items with low value but that have high public interest can be significant.
Significance is ultimately determined by the elected members – find out more here
What’s the difference between formal consultation and engagement?
Consultation involves receiving public feedback on proposals, and is one form of engagement. The Council regularly consults communities through process such as the long-term plan, which determine Council’s strategic direction, as well as how it sets budgets and prioritises projects.
The Council will consult with the community about significant decisions following the principles set out in Section 82 of the Act. The Council can also decide to consult at any time on a decision, where it considers that appropriate. For most Council decisions, there is no express requirement to consult the public, but we will consider people’s views and preferences.
Engagement is a broader and ongoing process of sharing information with the community and seeking its feedback, with the purpose of involving the community in the process of decision making. This may or may not include a more formal consultation process.
What if I have feedback for the Council?
We are happy to receive feedback at any time throughout the year, not just at annual plan time. Please get in touch if you want to share your ideas, have some positive feedback about our staff, or have something you are not so happy about here.
What is a Long-term Plan?
The Long-term Plan (LTP) is the capital and operational expenditure the Council intends to undertake over the next thirty years, and the impacts on the community.
The LTP describes these impacts in financial and non-financial terms, through financial statements and the resulting changes to rates and debt. The non-financial terms are mainly the performance measures relating to the levels of service.
It’s important to remember that the LTP is only a forecast and the actual results may be different, particularly after year 4, as there is a new LTP developed every three years.
What is required when amending a Long-term Plan?
The amendment process would depend on the complexity of the amendment, but any amendment must go through a formal public consultation and submission process where the proposal is considered by the community for no less than one calendar month. Any amendment must be externally audited.
How else can I give feedback throughout the year?
We have an online community panel Our Porirua City with over 800 members of the Porirua community. The panel receives surveys every now and then about different issues or ideas. Sign up to our Community Panel 'Our Porirua City'