Council charge-out rate stacks up

The Timaru District Council is satisfied that its staff charge-out rates are in line with those of neighbouring authorities.

Two submitters to the council's annual plan asked it to review its charge-out rates for staff, prompting a report on the rates.

The report writer, council regulatory services group manager Chris English, compared Timaru with the Mackenzie and Ashburton district councils.

In Timaru, a district planning manager is charged out at $155 an hour, compared with $150 in the Mackenzie and Ashburton districts. A senior planner costs $120 an hour in Timaru and a planner $105, while administration staff are charged out at $87.50 an hour.

A planner is charged out at $95 an hour in the Mackenzie, compared with $120 in Ashburton.

Ashburton charged $100 an hour for a graduate planner and $90 an hour for administrative staff.

"Timaru District Council's planning charges look very similar, so in the respect of benchmarking charge-out rates, it appears TDC's rates are very similar to its neighbours," English said.

"All [council] planning staff, apart from the administration officer, hold a primary degree and also a masters degree in a relevant field and are very experienced professional people.

"My understanding is that people operating within the private sector with similar qualifications and experience have higher charge-out rates," English said.

Under the council's revenue and financing policy, the percentage of cost to be recovered from applicants is between 30 and 40 per cent.

Under the current charging regime, council is recovering about 35 per cent.

"This would indicate that the charge-out rates are at or close to where they need to be to be within the mid-range of the policy requirements."

The Timaru Herald