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Sludge Minimisation Project Funding Mechanism

Wellington Chamber of Commerce Submission

Issue date

The Chamber has concerns with the proposal and, in particular, the levy funding mechanism of the Sludge Minimisation Project. We recognise there is a need to address this issue, but aspects of the approach from the Council to the project have illustrated a concerning lack of rigour and meaningful engagement.

The Chamber wishes to note a deep concern that this consultation appears insufficient. There is a lack of detail within the consultation background documents. We also have concerns with the survey question design and the consultation period timing.

We would like to see further clarification on the cost of the project to satisfy the concerns around uncertainty outlined in the audit of the Long-Term Plan. What are the long-term projections of costs for levy, and how will the cost burden be shared between commercial and residential ratepayers? What assumptions might change these costs?

We understand the levy is intended to be applied for a potential timeframe in terms of decades. A ratepayer might be concerned to discover that any reference to the proposed length of imposition of this levy is not easy to find. This information should be transparent and clear if the consultation is to be meaningful.

We are also concerned about the high cost of the project, given the impact on the city’s commercial ratepayers. We would like further clarification on more affordable options and why these were discounted or not considered.

The proposed levy is an additional cost increase on business. We are concerned that there is not a clear rationale outlining why this levy was not funded from the council’s general expenditure. The levy, as currently designed, places a further disproportionate cost onto businesses, compared to the way it would be funded under principles established for the general rating system...

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