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ARC Draft Regional Community Plan adopted

ARC Draft Regional Community Plan adopted

Regional rates and what they help pay for, how rates are spread across the region, and a proposed $10 flat charge – these are the key things being put to the community following the adoption of the Auckland Regional Council’s Draft Regional Community Plan, Your Region Your Future.

The Draft Regional Community Plan outlines what the ARC proposes to do from July 2004 to 2014. It includes details of how much money is required from regional ratepayers and how rates are calculated.

The draft plan proposes:

An average 3.2% rates increase per ratepayer (allowing for growth) in the 2004/05 financial year. This is down considerably from the 18.8% increase forecast last year in the Long Term Financial Strategy.

A proposal for a special parks rate of an additional $10 per ratepayer. This money would go into a fund specifically for purchasing new parkland.

To spread rates across the region in the same way as last year, to minimise the impact of change on ratepayers. The draft Plan also introduces three variations for how rates could be spread, and includes details on how ratepayers will be impacted if each variation was applied.

Two changes to payment options:

Extending the discount date from two weeks to three, and the final due date from four weeks to six (from the invoice date).

Introducing the option of paying by automatic payment.

“The Council has paid particular attention to keeping any rates increases to a minimum while still maintaining levels of service,” says ARC Chair Gwen Bull. “We have managed to achieve this through a combination of belt tightening and significant additional financial support from government (via Transfund) for public transport.”

“This year we are really focusing on getting people to give us their comments and views and trying to make it easier for them to do so,” says Cr Bull. “It is important that people have their say now, at a time when comments can be taken into consideration, rather than when people receive their rates bill.”

In addition to the formal submission and hearing process, the ARC is running an on-line survey to make it easier and faster for people to get involved and comment on what their regional rates help to pay for.

The draft plan is open to public consultation from Monday 5 April to Monday 3 May. The online survey, at www.getinvolved.co.nz, will be accessible throughout this time. The ARC will also be holding public briefings throughout the region during April.

Copies of the Draft Regional Community Plan and additional information about how to comment is available via:

the internet: www.arc.govt.nz

by email : info@arc.govt.nz

by phone: 366 2000 (or 0800 80 60 40 if outside the toll-free area).

your local library.

By logging on to www.getinvolved.co.nz, people can complete a quick on-line survey and let the ARC know how they want the rates spread and if they support a $10 flat charge per ratepayer for buying new parkland. People can also do the survey over the phone, through 968 3254, or for those outside the local Auckland calling area, call tollfree 0508 968 7729 (0508 YOURSAY).

The April issue of the ARC’s newsletter RegionWide, which is a summary of the Draft Plan, will be distributed to households as an insert in local papers during the first week of April. It includes a hard copy of the online survey, information on how to make a submission and details about public briefings.

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