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Hutt City Council Faces Tough Decisions

Hutt City Council Faces Tough Decisions

After two days of hearings on its draft Community Plan, Council faces some tough decisions when it reconvenes to finalise its Community Plan on 18/19 June, said Mayor Terris.

In total 1071 submissions were received and 70 people chose to appear before Council to speak to their submissions. 111 (10.7%) of the total were standard forms of which 75 were from supporters of Friends of New Settlers who wish to establish a multicultural centre in the city.

More than 30 proposals were received for additional Council spending (over and above the spending proposed in the draft Community Plan).

"If Council was to include all the new proposals in its spending plans the proposed average rates increase would blow out from the previously publicised 3.2 per cent to nearly five per cent, which is not something I am prepared to contemplate.

"While Council is faced with having to make some tough decisions, I believe the reason for at least part of this unprecedented pressure on rates is the result of the steady withdrawal of central government funding for such things as community sport and recreation, a fall-off in sponsorship, and fewer grants from the Community Trust of Wellington.

"While the gaming Trusts have increased their distributions, it is clear that a lot of organisations are still missing out, and looking to Council for help.

"Prioritising the spending proposals is going to be difficult. How does one decide between money to remove pine trees, said to be threatening peoples' health, and helping youth-at-risk?"

Analysis undertaken by Hutt City of the published rates increases of 60 councils throughout the country shows the highest proposed increase is 34.0 per cent (Auckland Regional), the lowest is zero, proposed by Wairoa and Waitomo councils.

The average proposed increase is 6.7% and only six of the 60 councils sampled were proposing a lower rates increase than Hutt City.

"I want to thank all those who took the time to make submissions and would say that the overall standard of the presentations made to Council was extremely high," said Mayor Terris.

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