DCC Draft Annual Plan 2013/14 – Aaron Hawkins on the money

“[Last year] What we didn’t see coming during the annual plan process was the DCC’S move to streamline its marketing budgets across all departments. Instead of the DPAG, for example, having a budget allocated to them for marketing their services, they would have to bid for access to that on a case-by-case basis.”

DPAG 16.1.13

### DScene 16 Jan 2013
Opinion – Aaron Hawkins
Council’s budget tactics queried (page 13)

New process restricts community’s chance to comment on marketing spend

Next week, the great bunfight that is the Dunedin City Council annual plan process begins. Given the DCC’s self-imposed limits on rates increases, as per the Long Term Plan adopted last year, there are always going to be hard decisions to be made. Financial resources are scarce and community demand tends only to increase. Last year in these pages I wrote that I was disappointed that the DCC had chosen to prioritise investment in sports infrastructure (Logan Park) over arts infrastructure (the Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s – DPAG – acquisitions budget). Given that the city’s finances are strained by building a sports stadium, I argued, this wasn’t a particularly good look. It seemed that plenty of people agreed with me and, largely due to the mobilisation of the arts community, the funding cuts to the DPAG were reversed and the Logan Park development was deferred. Glasses were charged and backs were patted but perhaps a little prematurely. What we didn’t see coming during the annual plan process was the DCC’s move to streamline its marketing budgets across all departments. Instead of the DPAG, for example, having a budget allocated to them for marketing their services, they would have to bid for access to that on a case-by-case basis.
{continues} #bookmark

Aaron Hawkins is the breakfast host-music director at Radio One.

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Media, Name, Politics, Project management

14 responses to “DCC Draft Annual Plan 2013/14 – Aaron Hawkins on the money

  1. Hype O'Thermia

    That’s a good alert – another thing to watch carefully.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ch9.co.nz January 17, 2013 – 5:43pm
      Weeks of debate about to begin
      The weeks of ardent debate that mark the annual budget round at the DCC are about to start. Draft budgets have been completed, and councillors are poring over them before meetings next week. Figures giving residents an idea of what increase to expect in their rates bill are embargoed until next Tuesday.

  2. Elizabeth

    Good god, the DCC can still borrow ~!!!!

    ### ODT Online Mon, 21 Jan 2013
    $6m to change city’s lights
    By Debbie Porteous
    The replacement of Dunedin’s ageing streetlight stock with energy efficient lights is expected to cost the city about $6 million.

    The cost will be funded initially from loans, but council staff expect the cost of servicing the debt will be ”more than” offset by savings in maintenance and electricity bills.

    Council transportation operations programme engineer Michael Harrison said some high-level work had been done on what it would cost to replace the city’s 14,000 streetlights with longer-lasting, more efficient technology units, probably LED lights. The plan was to replace the lights over a four-year period, starting from 2015-16, but prudent budget planning meant funding had to be included in outlying years’ budget lines now. This would also allow the council to meet this year’s deadline to apply for New Zealand Transport Agency subsidies. Staff estimated new lights could save the council up to $400,000 a year in replacement and electricity costs.The savings would start in the 2021-22 year, after a recovery period from taking the loan.
    Read more

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    The savings are a long way off. Domestic LED lights have come down in price considerably in the last 5 months. If I were the DCC I’d continue with the routine replacement schedule, no hysterical burst of enthusiasm for change required, and replace at the same rate as servicing/replacement of the present lights. By the time they get around the whole city the price is likely to be a lot less than the first series of replacements.

  4. Anonymous

    Oh god, which councillor or manager has a brother in the lighting business? I thought the lights were already low energy.

  5. Mike

    It’s a smart thing to do – LED lighting prices have been going down fast at the same time efficiencies go up – and there’s probably a trade-off between large volume discounts and what borrowing the money to buy everything quickly will cost – made worse of course by the city’s slowly dissolving credit rating.

    While LED street lighting’s probably already a better economic proposition than household lighting the big expense here is replacing not the bulbs but the housings/ballasts (many are integrated with the LED lights making it a more expensive buy) – which is going to lock you in to one new supplier, it’s going to be hard to get ongoing competitive bidding.

    From memory LEDs last 50,000 hours ~10 years vs sodium’s 3-5 (fewer trips up poles, and if 5 LEDs out of 50 go out who cares) – after 50,000 hours the LEDs don’t fail they just slowly lose brightness.

    It’s great to get rid of sodium yellow from our streets – LED lights are more directive (part of the efficiency, more of the light output ends up on the road, less elsewhere).

  6. Anonymous

    Just another six million dollars on tab. Got to beat that deadline. Apparently that’s more important than consequences of spending money you don’t have.

    Must get that [insert this week’s want] from Briscoes in case I miss the once in a lifetime, this week only, we’re over stocked, sale of the century.

  7. Anonymous

    [Slaps head.]

  8. Phil

    DCC Energy Manager had been pushing for a low energy street lighting replacement scheme back in around 2005. The Transportation Department have been consistently rejecting the plan since that day, citing capital expenditure and a lack of budget. Never mind that they could have fixed that problem in the following year’s budget application. Good to see that they have finally been backed into a corner but it never needed to come to that.

  9. Mike

    And that’s the problem – here we have a chance to make a long term investment that would save us money and because we’ve spent it all on fripperies we can’t afford to – instead we’ll probably build the Highlanders their all weather fake practice turf at Logan Park instead

  10. Anonymous

    This is quite probably one of the few genuine essential projects to be followed up by the council and reported on by the media, something like in the best interests of the city and as Phil notes at least one manager with a real job who is still working in that way. Unfortunately a group of self-serving colleagues, executives and Stadium Councillors have blown the budget which puts all genuine investments under the scope. I believe Hype’s suggestion would be best and project implemented in stages, paid in cash rather debt-funding. This would be more than possible if the criminal bastards in this council stop wasting money on their mates’ failing ventures and focused on working in the best interests of the ratepayers.

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    My guess is they see $ advantage in a big order of lights and the fittings, now.
    The disadvantages are – interest on borrowed money; storage; probable drop in price before replacement job is anywhere near finished.

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