The Draft Annual Plan 2019/20 adopted by Councillors reflects a strong desire to reduce rates increases, remove chlorine from the city’s drinking water and to focus attention on roads, footpaths and parks.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel said there are few significant changes from the budget forecast for Year 2 of the Long Term Plan 2018-28.
“It’s a year for getting the basics done, while securing our drinking water supply in line with government standards.”
Along with keeping rates increases down, work to secure the water supply is a top priority for this Council, she said.
“We know our residents value turning on the tap and getting drinking water that is both safe and good to drink – and good to drink means it doesn’t taste of chlorine.”
One area where the Draft Annual Plan varies from the Long Term Plan is in waste management, where the costs of recycling on the international market have increased.
Ms Dalziel said Eco Central had been affected by that, which meant the waste management targeted rate has had to increase. She said this reflected a national and international problem and was unavoidable.
The state of the city’s roads, footpaths and parks was of concern to all Councillors, she said.
“We expect these to be maintained at a level befitting our Garden City status.”
Councils must produce a Long Term Plan every three years outlining its plans and how it will pay for them over the next 10 years. In the years between long term plans, Councils must produce an Annual Plan.
The Long Term Plan 2018-28 anticipated an overall average rates increase of 5.5% for the year 2019/20. The Draft Annual Plan adopted today has reduced that to 4.96%, with an average residential rate increase of 4.92%.
Consultation on the Draft Annual Plan 2019/20 will be held in March, with hearings planned for April.
“I encourage local communities to think about coming together to put in submissions,” Ms Dalziel said.
In a change from past years, she said submissions received from communities, as opposed to those submitted by individuals, will be channelled through the Community Boards.
Ms Dalziel hoped this would give the Council a better understanding of what communities want during the hearings process.
“It’s bit of an experiment, but we really want to know what the community priorities are.”
Consultation will run from 1 March to 1 April.