Earthquake strengthening: voluntary targeted rates scheme

### ODT Online Thu, 26 Jan 2012
New rate to fund strengthening
By David Loughrey
The Dunedin City Council gave approval for a second “targeted rate” system to improve city buildings yesterday when it voted for a scheme to help fund earthquake-strengthening for heritage building owners. That followed a decision on Tuesday to back a similar scheme to fund insulation and clean heating for residential buildings.
Read more

The voluntary targeted rates schemes work by providing finance to ratepayers – in this case to complete earthquake-strengthening – with the cost to be paid off through rates over a specified period.

• There would be about $500,000 available in the first year.
• Applications would be considered by the four city councillors on the Dunedin Heritage Fund, and three New Zealand Historic Places Trust representatives, with a final decision by the council finance, strategy and development committee.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

5 Comments

Filed under #eqnz, Architecture, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Heritage, NZHPT, Politics, Project management, Property, Urban design

5 responses to “Earthquake strengthening: voluntary targeted rates scheme

  1. Anonymous

    I’m trying to keep an open mind with this one because it involves Cr Jinty MacTavish and the proposed pay-back through the recipients’ rates. But I also struggle because of who wrote the story and that final say goes to Cr Syd Brown while he haunts the finance committee. I do not want to read about unjust recipients receiving the lion’s share while the just find it difficult to apply for and receive a fair entitlement. It would be good to monitor its activity if the proposal is accepted to ensure appropriate use of funds. It is more important than ever to protect the ratepayers against a public-funded long-term low-interest loan being used to prop up stakeholder interests.

    • Elizabeth

      Anonymous, the Dunedin Heritage Fund is an independent legal entity with its own deed of constitution; the Fund has been operating successfully for a number of years despite limited funding available in many of those years for grants and loans to the community organisations and private individuals which managed to qualify.

      The last year in particular has seen efforts by the DHF Committee to provide assistance to historic building owners (buildings to be registered by NZHPT, listed in Heritage Schedule 25.1 of the Dunedin City District Plan, or located in a heritage or townscape precinct identified in the district plan) through the development of generic building and engineering solutions to enhance building performance in line with earthquake-prone buildings policy.

      As you have read, the Dunedin Heritage Fund Committee, comprising NZHPT and DCC representatives, decides which projects will be accepted for the targeted rates scheme; the process is likely to be no less rigorous than processes already followed for applications received by the Fund. Projects assisted are published out via the DCC website as matter of course – search “heritage”. Links to the appropriate page(s) have been provided at What if? Dunedin… on previous occasions.

      The recommendations the Dunedin Heritage Fund makes to FSD Committee are unlikely to become subject to political interference by the FSD chair or any other councillor(s) given the dedicated budget and the rigorous building assessments necessary to arrive at a recommendation.

      I can say this in good faith based on my participation in the Dunedin Heritage Fund as the NZHPT Otago branch chair representative, 2000-2008. Conflicts of interest, real or perceived, rarely had the potential to arise – nothing has changed to alter this my view, despite everything that’s unfolding in the other limbs of council activity at the present time.

      The voluntary targeted rates scheme is very good news for building owners; a modest practical effort to keep a few more buildings up each year.

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    Thanks for that explanation, Elizabeth. I think we’re all deeply suspicious of any ratepayer funds going to chosen people. generally the shadowy steak-holders. It’s a relief to know that somewhere, now and then, there’s a scheme with untwistable arms and piss-proof pockets.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you Elizabeth.

    • Elizabeth

      Of course in the current climate I’m aware that what I’ve said can sound dreadfully naive. However, the relationship between NZHPT and DCC is sufficiently er, robust… to yes, have “untwistable arms and piss-proof pockets”.

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