Throughout this annual planning process, we have been focussed on making internal efficiencies and working smarter. As a result, officers have identified significant savings and income opportunities across Council’s activities and internal functions totalling $14.1 million.
As an example, our Building Compliance and Consents business unit is extending the use of Go Get, a system that enables inspection teams to access information and processes in the field using a mobile tablet device. This will increase the efficiency of the team by reducing double handling of information and automating administrative tasks. As a result, the number of inspection hours that can be recorded in a day will increase and the turnaround time for inspections is expected to improve.
We have also:
In addition to this, we are looking to combine and better align existing resources to achieve our priorities. An example of this is the Our Living City initiative.
Wellington's greatest strength as a city is our quality of life, and nature is integral to this. Our unique environment – harbour, hills, wild coastline and native flora and fauna so close to where we live and work – provides ecological, economic, social and cultural benefits. Our Living City is a work programme designed to strengthen our urban-nature connections, further improve Wellington's quality of life and help achieve our Smart Capital vision.
The goals of the programme include growing our natural capital to attract people, ideas and investment to the city. The programme itself includes a number of associated initiatives including the Two Million Trees project, which grows Council's existing revegetation programme into a celebration of our Council and community planting programmes and sets a target of two million trees by 2020.
Working in partnership with others is a key feature of this programme. As an example of this, the Council and Victoria University of Wellington recently announced a ground-breaking three year research collaboration, to explore issues of the city's resilience, ecology and urban environment.
As was highlighted in the 2012-22 Long-term Plan, Council does face significant financial challenges in terms of earthquake mitigation for Council buildings and weather-tight buildings.
In terms of weather-tight building provisions, the Council will continue to fund settlements initially through borrowings. To repay those borrowings we have planned to fund $5.0 million through rates in 2013/14 and the remaining liability of $55.4 million between 2014/15 and 2019/20.
In terms of earthquake strengthening, Council agreed to a revised programme of earthquake risk mitigation works on Councils buildings. Current estimates for earthquake strengthening total $47.2 million over the 10 years of the current Long-term Plan and $12.7 million in 2013/14.