The Northland Regional Council has begun the first step to identify potential recipients of its new $900,000-a-year Contestable Emergency Services Fund.
The fund, which costs ratepayers roughly $12 per household a year, was adopted recently as part of the Regional Council’s new Long Term Plan 2015-25 and replaces its former emergency services helicopter rate and all other similar funding from Northland's four councils.
Council chairman Bill Shepherd says emergency services funding had attracted comment from almost 800 submitters, with a roughly even split between those wanting to adopt the new contestable fund and others keen to retain the status quo.
With the LTP (and new fund) officially adopted by councillors recently, the council has now begun the first step to formally allocate the funding – an initial ‘registration of interest’ (ROI) process for eligible potential recipients.
Councillor Shepherd says a two-stage process will be followed, with ROI required by 4pm Friday August 21.
“The ROI process will be used by staff and councillors next month to determine the eligibility of applicants to then proceed to a second ‘request for proposal’ (RFP) stage.”
He says the RFP stage will consider specific financial requests, proposed measures and targets and business cases from eligible applicants.
“Our hope is that the second RFP stage will be complete, and successful applicants will have been chosen by late October/early November to give all applicants certainty as to their funding status for the next several years as soon as possible.”
The initial high-level criteria agreed to by councillors for the fund ahead of the August 21 deadline is:
n It’s available to emergency service organisations that have a significant part of their activities undertaken by volunteers;
n The purpose of the organisation must primarily be the saving of human life that is in immediate or critical danger or responding to serious injury;
n The funds must be applied to the provision of region-wide services within Northland;
n Fund recipients must undertake not to approach the region’s district councils for funding during the term of the agreement;
n The total funded is for a three-year period with the annual amount funded being flexible, to suit the recipient’s requirements;
n The fund can be for capital or operational expenditure.
Groups interested in taking part in the initial registration of interest process can do so by visiting gets.govt.nz, ref. 14641490.