The Far North has infrastructure assets worth around $2 billion that need maintenance, upgrades and, at times, replacement. These lifetime costs are known as the depreciation value. At present, the depreciation is funded by the ratepayer. Council considers this rate to be a burden to ratepayers. We are proposing to reduce this pressure by changing how we fund infrastructure maintenance, upgrades and replacement.
The Council is consulting on two proposed changes to the depreciation section of the accounting policy. The first will stop raising revenue via rates for the depreciation of some ‘non-essential’ assets. Non-essential assets may include civil defence alarms, carparks, maritime assets (wharfs, pontoons and boat ramps), motor camps, park and reserve structures (playgrounds, park benches, litter bins and minor structures), and solid waste assets (transfer stations, landfill and recycling centres).
The second proposed change is to the community assets group. This includes community buildings and centres, halls and museums. The proposal is to reduce the percentage of depreciation funding raised via rates to just 50 per cent.
For both the non-essential and community asset groups, decisions whether to renew or replace infrastructure will be handled on a case-by-case basis as required.
If these changes are supported by our communities and are adopted, we plan to invest approximately $2 million in a programme to accurately assess the condition of all our assets. This will ensure we maintain and protect essential services well into the future.