Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Council sets plans and budgets

Council sets plans and budgets

The proposed average rates increase for North Shore City ratepayers for 2003/04 is 4.65 per cent, down from just over five per cent proposed in the Draft 2003/04 Annual Plan. North Shore City ' s water price of $1.29 per one thousand litres remains the same.

Mayor George Wood says the council agreed, at a special meeting last Friday, on a more achievable new capital works programme for the next financial year (starting July 1). This seeks to maintain and progress work in key priority areas to improve transportation, wastewater and stormwater networks, and the purchase of new parks and reserves.

" Our $76.7m new capital budget (down from $81.2m in the draft plan) for next year is sensible and balanced, and allows for more realistic time frames so that we can plan, integrate and complete projects in set times, " Mr Wood says.

The planned new projects are $10.6 m up on the $66.1m we expect to complete by the end of this financial year.

Councillor Andrew Eaglen, chairperson of this year ' s annual plan hearings committee, says it can take a significant amount of time to complete major capital projects.

" This is particularly the case when buying land or undertaking construction work. A number of steps are involved including community consultation, acquiring land, negotiating with the owners and undertaking design work.

" Then there is applying for and obtaining resource consents, ensuring the availability of staff and contractors to undertake the work, not to mention getting funding from other parties, " Councillor Eaglen says.

Most of the major works projects that have been deferred are in the transportation area. These include the widening of Esmonde Rd, Lake Rd and Glenfield Rd. The North Shore Busway and other public transport projects have also been rephased and in some cases brought forward to fit in with other agencies including Transfund to ensure an integrated approach to public transport for the Auckland region.

Mayor George Wood says changes have been necessary to the draft plan to incorporate feedback from the public, to areas of the new capital works programme where it could not be guaranteed that work could be completed in the next financial year, and to accommodate increased costs to comply with government legislation. The total cost of complying with the Local Government Act 2002 amounts to around $600,000 for 2003/04.

" Our transportation budget is our biggest ticket item with $32m to be invested in new capital projects including the busway, and a further $37.2m required to operate and maintain our transport network helping to improve public transport and ease traffic congestion which remains a key challenge for our city and the Auckland region.

" Other big ticket areas clearly supported by the community are wastewater (sewerage) with a further $24m to be invested in new capital works, stormwater a further $7m and $3m to secure more parkland, " Mr Wood says.

Other key points from the annual plan deliberations are:

* Birkenhead Library changed from a $1.95m upgrade to $5.5m for a new library with $100,000 for design and planning in 2003/04 and a further $0.9m in 2004/05 and $4.5m in 2005/06 for construction;

* Increased resources for Travelwise including the appointment of a Travelwise co-ordinator to promote the programme in schools;

* Extra costs of compliance with Local Government Act 2002 of $600,000;

* Stormwater infrastructure planning costs of $585,000; and

* Increase in the community facilities grants fund of $200,000 (bringing this to $700,000) and community grants of $50,000.

The anticipated overall debt level (including guarantees) by June 30, 2004, is now $84.9m, down from the $100.3m projected in the draft plan. Interest to be paid is now planned at $3.5m, which is $1m lower than the draft plan. Both of these are well within the council ' s own self-imposed constraints.

Earlier this year, the council received 309 written submissions on the plan, with 113 people heard by its hearings committee.

Councillor Eaglen thanked everyone who took the time to attend meetings and make submissions on the draft Annual Plan.

The 2003/04 Annual Plan is due to be adopted by councillors on July 1.

The first North Shore City rates notice will be sent out in mid-July. The Auckland Regional Council (ARC) rate has been dropped from the North Shore City rates bill and ratepayers will receive a separate invoice from ARC.

* 2003/04 covers the period from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>


Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>


State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>





Featured InfoPages