A Word from Central Otago District Council chief executive Sanchia Jacobs

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Three Waters funding adds to CODC decision

Central Otago District Council (CODC) could receive nearly $13million as part of a $2.5billion funding package to support councils that stay opted into the proposed reforms to drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement last week.

The fund is intended to help councils shift to a wellbeing mandate fund would be for councils to invest in the “the future for local government, urban development and the wellbeing of their communities”.

The aim is that no council is worse off and every community is better off after reform.

Central Otago’s allocation would be $13million money in anybody’s terms, but especially for a small district like ours.

It is something to seriously consider as part of the larger reform programme, and more immediately as part of the deliberations our councillors will need to make whether to opt in or out of the Three Waters reform.

An initiallook at the suite of information provided around Three Waters reform would suggest that there may be a case for Central Otago to stay in the reform programme.

Ultimately ratepayers are likely to pay less under the proposed reform structure than if CODC was to continue to deliver the services alone.

But before that decision is made your council has been very clear that it wants to fully understand the pros and cons for both options, staying in or opting out.

It wants to know local interests will be heard, assets won’t be privatised and water is not delivered in isolation of the many other planning needs a council needs to consider.

One thing is certain, though, and as Mayor Tim Cadogan has written before, there is no more status quo.

Even if the council continues to deliver the services, changes and significant investment will need to be made to meet the drinking water standards and expectations of the new water regulator Taumata Arowai.

Over the coming weeks we will be analysing the data and testing the “no worse off”/”better off” proposition for Central Otago.

We will start putting out specific communications to you, the community, so that you have the information you need as well.

And we will make all of the data publicly available for those data-nuts out there who want to look at information in more detail.