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Annual Plan submissions open

Media release
4 April 2005

Annual Plan submissions open

The Annual Plan 2005/2006 submission period starts on 4 April (today) and ends on 4 May.

“It is now up to the community to make their views known through the submissions process. During this period we hope to hear more from the community about what they want,” says Councillor Janet Clews Chairperson of the Council’s Long Term Council Community Plan and Annual Plan Special Committee.

She says that in developing the draft budget councillors looked closely at all areas of expenditure, as well as income. As a result, the cost of council rubbish bags (“grey bags”) will rise 10 cents, to $1.30. This is expected to bring an additional $270,000 which has been used to off-set cost increases that would otherwise have to be funded through rates.

She says major projects currently underway, such as the new Waitakere Central transport hub in Henderson, the new New Lynn library and the Henderson library (in conjunction with Unitec) have had a minimal impact on rates this year.

“There has been a lot of misinformation around these projects,” she says. “This year, they account for far less than 1% of the proposed rates rise. That is because they are being funded from loans, and will be paid for over many years. And that is simply because is more equitable - why should today’s ratepayers have to fully fund a facility that will be used by others in 2020 and beyond?”

After submissions close on May 4, hearings will be held, possible amendments made and the final budget adopted by 28 June.

An issue that the Council will highlight during consultation is the proposed closure of Te Atatu South library. “The decision was taken in light of the fact that there is a good library at Te Atatu Peninsula and that the new Waitakere central library is coming on stream,” says Councillor Clews.

“Te Atatu South has a relatively low number of users and these other libraries are within 5km. If we were building a new library, it wouldn’t be in Te Atatu South, so the time has come to look at its future again”. Closure would bring savings of $230,000 a year.

The draft budgets, at this stage, show an increase in council controlled costs of 7.15% most of which is made up of the costs of rapid growth (for example, the provision and maintenance of community facilities infrastructure such as parks, roading, footpaths etc).

The council has held its unit operating costs very close to the level of inflation but is faced with escalating world-wide price rises for oil, steel and cement, which is reflected in the cost of bitumen and other construction materials.

Councillors originally started with a proposed rates rise of 6.45%, but during deliberations added in a number of items, including an extra $540,000 for new footpaths (taking the total to be spent on footpaths to $2.25 million).

The indicative rates rise equates to around $117 a year (around $2.25 a week) for the average residential property with land value of $150,000.

Regional levies outside of the City Council’s control (Watercare Services Ltd , Auckland War Memorial Museum and MOTAT) increase the overall rates figure to 7.65%.

Traditional areas of expenditure such as roading, parks, water, libraries, waste-water and storm-water continue to receive major attention and account for $71.5 million (or 71%) of the total rates requirement.

ENDS

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