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Waitakere Draft Plan Agreed

Draft Plan Agreed

Waitakere City Council yesterday completed the first stage of deliberations on its Annual Plan (budget) for 2004/2005.

The draft plan shows an increase in Council costs of 3.97%, most of which is made up of costs of rapid growth and the provision of associated community facilities.

The Council will collect $93.51 million in rates for 2004/2005. The rates rise equates to $45 a year (or less than $1 a week) for the average residential property valued at $90,000.

Major expenditure will be on new facilities, including:

A start on the new Central library in Henderson ($5.9 million next year)

Construction will also begin on the new “Waitakere Central” transport and city centre development in the heart of Henderson (around $15.7 million, depending on tender prices and contract negotiations)

Traditional areas of expenditure, such as roading ($11.9million), parks ($10.6million) and stormwater ($3.1million) continue to get attention.

Under the Council’s Long Term Council Community Plan, a 9.33% rates rise had been signalled for 2004/2005 but this has been reduced by a combination of a stringent budgeting process and the delay of some capital works.

Chairperson of the Long Term Council Community Plan and Annual Plan Special Committee, Janet Clews, describes it as a “nuts and bolts” budget.

“We have managed to trim expenditure back and still maintain our core assets and functions,” she says.

“Perhaps the most pleasing aspect is that we are either starting or completing some major facilities which our communities have been waiting years for.”

“It’s a simple fact of life that we can’t do everything that we would like, or that the community wants,” she says. “But overall we’ve managed to keep costs to an absolute minimum and produce a sensible, affordable, programme of work.”

The plan is open for public submissions, from April 13-May 13, after which hearings will be held. Then the revised budgets will be adopted, before the end of June.

Key issues for consultation during the submission period include:

Whether to include $210,000 as a share towards purchasing Kaikoura Island in the Hauraki Gulf as a nature reserve -there is no funding in the draft budget currently

Whether to provide financial or other assistance to local iwi (Te Kawerau A Maki) for the establishment of a marae in the City -there is no funding in the draft budget currently

Whether or not to relocate the Civil Defence headquarters from Te Atatu South

A Heritage Strategy and action plan

A new business incentives package ($170,000 currently in the draft plan)

A City Image/Marketing programme, aimed at business ($130,000 is allocated in the draft)

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