The first public briefing ahead of Christchurch City Council’s approval of their Annual Plan 2022/23 is now under way.
“Having these discussions in public, where people in the community can see the process their councillors go through as they decide what to approve in the Council’s budget for the year, is a new step for us,” says Council Chief Executive Dawn Baxendale.
“The deliberations can be viewed via livestream or in person, and it’s part of our efforts to make things like this more transparent and easy to follow for the public.”
The briefing is running from 9.30am to 5pm today, Wednesday 25 May in the Council chambers at Te Hononga Civic Offices.
The Draft Annual Plan 2022/23 went out for public consultation in March, and proposed what the Council will spend on projects and day-to-day services over the coming financial year and how they'll be financed. Hearings are now complete, and the next phase is to consider staff advice and refine the plan before it’s adopted on 21 June.
“We received more than 500 submissions from the public, and they told us that we broadly have our approach right – investing in improving our water and transport infrastructure, adapting to climate change, and keeping rates increases affordable while we’re doing it,” Mrs Baxendale says.
“Our community has told us they’re concerned about the rates burden, especially in the high-cost environment we’re seeing play out worldwide, but they don’t want to see the projects they care about slow down or stop.
“Of course, the world isn’t the same as it was even as recently as March when we went out with the Draft Annual Plan, and this is where we adjust.
Mrs Baxendale says the factors anticipated in the Draft Annual Plan 2022/23 – inflation, supply chain and productivity issues – have only exacerbated since then, and that councillors will follow the public’s lead as they find the balance in our capital and operational spend.
“We believe we can support residents while recognising the Council’s ongoing cost pressures – short-term spikes in things like inflation cause short-term problems, but these tend to smooth out over time,” Mrs Baxendale says.