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North Shore City average rates increase 6.99% 2006

North Shore City is proposing an average rates increase of 6.99 per cent next year to pay for new assets and maintain existing services.

Mayor George Wood says North Shore City continues to be one of the faster growing parts of New Zealand and this places increasing demand on services and facilities throughout the city.

"It puts increasing pressure on our budgets to meet the level of service the community wants. We have worked extremely hard to contain this year's rates increase at 6.79 per cent excluding the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Museum of Transport and Technology levies (adding 0.2 per cent on rates)," he says.

Mr Wood says 4.95 per cent* of the increase goes towards funding the billion dollars the council is investing over 10 years in capital works to continue progress in areas that are important to residents. Rates are increasing to fund interest and repay loans for work already completed. This includes improvements to transportation, wastewater and stormwater networks and the purchase of new parks and reserves. The other 1.84 per cent is going mainly to cover the costs for road resealing, parks maintenance and economic development.

"While rates and loans remain a major factor in the budgeting, we're looking at other ways to fund services through public/private partnerships and development contributions.

"We're also working hard to cut costs with programmes in place to work more efficiently. An example is our shared services waste collection with Waitakere City which saves our city $300,000 a year," George Wood says.

In addition to its existing budgets, the council is looking to include the following items in the draft plan:

* Road resealing - $1.4m over and above the $3.7m already budgeted. Council will receive a further $600,000 from subsidies. * Tree trimming around power lines - $650,000. * Economic development and tourism - $300,000. * Maintaining existing reserves and parks - $165,000. * Emptying rubbish bins in parks - $140,000. * Maintaining and keeping accessways clear - $100,000. * Removing graffiti and repairing vandalism damage - $70,000. Council will receive a further $30,000 from subsidies.

Late next month, the council will send every household and business in the city a newsletter summarising the Draft 2005-06 Annual Plan. A reply-paid submission form will be included to make it easier for people to provide feedback. Meetings will be held at four venues around North Shore City to explain the draft plan. People are welcome to attend a meeting, to ask questions and to make submissions before April 22 to their elected representatives. People are invited to visit the website, www.northshorecity.govt.nz or call Actionline on 486 8600 for a list of council offices and libraries where they can view the full draft plan from March 22.

*NOTE: This Draft Annual Plan is year two of the City Plan 2004-2014. At that time we proposed a 7.65 per cent rates increase - 4.95 per cent plus inflation (currently 2.7 per cent).

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