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Waitakere City Annual Plan Deliberations Completed

June 28, 2005
Media Release
(For Immediate Release)

Annual Plan Deliberations Completed

Today, Waitakere City Councillors completed their deliberations on, and have adopted, the City’s Annual Plan (budget) for 2005/2006.

The meeting concluded several months of discussion, debate and public hearings. The Council has adopted a 7.11% rates increase to fund their programme for the coming year and to meet its strategic priorities.

Regional levies outside of the City Council’s control (Watercare Services Ltd, Auckland War Memorial Museum and MOTAT) increase the overall figure to 7.65%. This is the same figure that was proposed in the draft Annual Plan.

Traditional areas of expenditure such as roads, parks, libraries and stormwater, and waste water continue to receive the most attention, accounting for more than $73 million (or 72%) of the total rate requirement.

That figure includes:

- $12.8 million for roading maintenance and depreciation

- $1.4 million for new library books (an increase of $287,000)

- $13.2 million for parks maintenance and depreciation

- $20.1 million for wastewater maintenance and depreciation. (This includes a $14.6 million payment to Watercare Services Ltd for wastewater treatment)

- $3.1 million for stormwater maintenance and depreciation

In setting the rates the Council also reviewed the level of its Uniform Annual General Charge- a proportion of the total rates which is paid by every property. That goes from $460 to $540 and has the effect of “smoothing” the impact of any rates rise across all properties in the City.

Examples:

- The average residential property in the City has a land value of $150,000. Next year that property owner will pay approximately $1517, a reduction of $7 over what was proposed in the draft Annual Plan.

- A property with a land value of $210,000 will pay around $1805 (a reduction of $33).

- At the other end of the scale, a property valued at $90,000 will see an increase of about $27 (to $1133).

New Lynn ward Councillor Janet Clews is chair of the special committee which reviewed the draft Annual Plan.

She says the end result strikes a “good balance” between areas of traditional spending (such as roads and footpaths) and on-going support for community groups. “Most of the budget increases are to pay for the rapid growth that we are experiencing,” she says. “For example we have an extra $540,000 for new footpaths (taking the total to be spent on footpaths to $2.25 million).

“We kept our own internal costs very close to the level of inflation. But some things are completely out of our control, such as world-wide price rises for oil, steel and cement, which are reflected in the cost of bitumen and other construction material.”

The Council received 525 public submissions on its draft Annual Plan, compared to 425 for 2004/2005. As a result of these submissions, there were a number of changes to the draft plan. Additions included:

- $100,000 for stage 1 of the Don Buck / Red Hills Road intersection

- $120,000 to establish a trust and develop a Pacific Islands Arts Centre at the Corban Estate in Henderson

- $110,000 for new toilets at Taipari Strand, in Te Atatu Peninsula

- $60,000 for a series of free music concerts during the summer

- $68,000 for preservation work on the historic Ambrico Kiln in New Lynn

- $50,000 for design work for upgrading Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre

- $20,000 for the Auckland Philharmonia and $25,000 for the new Waitakere City Orchestra

- $271,000 for safety work on Coronation Bridge in Henderson

- $200,000 for upgrading the intersection at Henderson Valley Road and Border Road

- $110,000 for maintenance and new staging at the New Lynn Community Centre

- $20,000 to investigate a new helicopter landing pad at Piha

- $400,000 for additional Water Main Renewals

An issue highlighted by the Council for community consultation was the proposed closure of the Te Atatu South library. The Council has decided that it will remain until the new library in Henderson is opened (expected to be February 2006). It will operate on reduced hours until then.

“The decision was taken in light of the fact that there is a good library at Te Atatu Peninsula and that the new Henderson Central library is coming on stream,” says Councillor Clews. “So it was time to look at the future of the facility in the longer term. Te Atatu South has a relatively low number of users and these other libraries are within 5km. In fact the majority of people who use Te Atatu South (67%) also go to the libraries on the Peninsula and Henderson regularly- so they are well catered for.”

The eventual closure will bring savings of around $230,000 a year.

The Council will collect $101.220 million in rates for 2005/2006.

The Annual Plan is based on year 3 of the Long Term Council Community Plan, which set the priorities for the City’s growth and development for the next 10 years. It comes into effect on July 1.

Ends

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