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Hutt City Annual Plan Consultation Begins

NEWS RELEASE from the Hutt City Council

17/04/01

Draft Annual Plan Consultation Begins

Consultation on Hutt City's Draft Annual Plan 2001/2002 began on Thursday 12 April and runs through until 18 May.

Mayor Terris said he was extremely pleased that the budget contained in the draft annual plan delivered a rates reduction while still improving services - including the new wastewater treatment plant. . This would mean that the city's rate take would have increased by only 3 per cent since 1996, compared with an average increase of over 20 per cent for the other local authorities in the region.

"We are winning the battle to reduce rates and debt and have managed to achieve this through sound Council leadership and our staff becoming more productive," said Mayor Terris

The proposals for money the Council plans to collect from the community through rates and charges, and how it will be spent, are outlined in the Draft Annual Plan, which is open for consultation until 18 May. The plan is for the financial year starting 1 July 2001.

A pamphlet entitled 'Its Your Money, Have Your Say' is being distributed to all households over the next few days. It gives an overview of what's in the Draft Annual Plan, contains a submission form and provides details of public meetings scheduled through to the 9th May.

"I urge everyone to have a say on the Draft Annual Plan. Hutt City is at a cross roads and all residents need to give consideration to how our city will grow and develop over the next ten years," Mayor Terris said.

Ratepayers are being asked to comment on two options.

The first option proposes a small rates reduction. Efficiency gains mean that this is possible while still maintaining the City's assets such as roads, sewers, pools and parks, to a high standard, and makes some improvements. The plan outlines specific projects that will be undertaken under this option.

For example: * $150,000 for Walter Nash stadium maintenance and improvements; * $250,000 for the continuing upgrade of the Petone foreshore; * $150,000 for continuing work on the Little Theatre.

The second option involves a small rates increase of half a percent. This would enable some extra projects to be undertaken, in addition to the projects in Option A.

For example: * $100,000 for more library book purchases; * $825,000 for the first stage of the War Memorial Library upgrade (total cost $1.6 million); * $60,000 for a central City skateboard park; * $70,000 for the costs of a central city youth centre.

Council is also seeking comment on 11 possible future projects, before it decides on the final plan.

The Draft Annual Plan also includes a Long Term Financial Strategy which would see rates at the same level (in today's dollars) in 10 years as they are now, assets and services maintained and debt reduced further after paying for the new wastewater plant.

This year the council is also asking for comment on its revised Draft Funding Policy. This looks at who benefits from Council activities and how they should be paid for. Council says in the Draft Policy that it has its funding about right, but that it is charging business too much and over time this should be reduced

The Draft Annual Plan is now available free. You can read it online at www.huttcity.co.nz or get it at any library or service centre, or phone 5706666.

Submissions close 5pm on 18 May 2001. Council will then meet with those who wish to present their views, consider all the submissions and decide on its Annual Plan in late June 2001.

ENDS For further information please contact: Dorothy Adams Hutt City Tel: 04-570 6958


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