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ARC Draft Annual Plan recommends 4.8% rate rise

8 March 2005

ARC Draft Annual Plan recommends 4.8% rate rise

The Auckland Regional Council concluded its budget deliberations yesterday and will adopt its Draft Annual Plan on 21 March 2005.

The Council recommended a 4.8% increase in rates for the average residential ratepayer.

ARC Chairman Michael Lee says that due to the higher expectations and responsibilities placed on the ARC recently, the Council has had to look hard at cutting costs within the organisation to achieve as low a rate rise as possible.

"After a rather demanding process of careful deliberations, the new Council has made significant savings in the general areas of administration costs, in favour of expenditure on public transport and managing the rapid growth in the Auckland region."

"We have also decided to set up a ring-fenced fund for buying new park land - as part of the overall 4.8% rise - and not as a uniform annual charge on top of the rates."

"Regional public transport, through the newly established Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), will see a $10 million increase in ARC contributions, which will support a $20 million increase in operational expenditure, allowing ARTA to deliver increased bus and train services."

"Funding from Auckland Regional Holdings of $138.2 million will enable the significant investment and commitment to new public transport infrastructure to continue."

"To maintain the balance between the share of rates paid by residential and business ratepayers, the business differential has been slightly adjusted from 1.5 to 1.6."

The Draft Plan will be open for public consultation from Wednesday 6 April to Friday 6 May. Copies will be available from the ARC or by going on-line at www.arc.govt.nz

A summary of the Plan will be sent to all households and businesses as part of Region Wide, the council's regular newsletter.

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

Copies of the Draft Annual Plan and additional information about how to comment will be available from 6 April via:

- the internet: www.arc.govt.nz - by email: info@arc.govt.nz - by phone: 366 2000 (or 0800 80 60 40 outside the toll-free area) - by Fax: 09 366 2155 or - at your local library.


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