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Submissions Now Open

April 11, 2008

MEDIA RELEASE (For Immediate Release)

Submissions Now Open

Public submissions on Waitakere City Council’s draft annual plan (budget) open today.

The Draft Plan was agreed after two weeks of debate and deliberation.

Janet Clews, chairman of the Long Term Council Community Plan and Annual Plan Committee, says that more than in any other year the draft budgets have been heavily impacted by external factors outside of the Council’s control.

”We have had to face major cost increases in depreciation ($1 million) and interest on loans ($6.6million). So before we even get to looking at the services we provide we are behind the financial eight-ball,” she says.

Other factors also outside of the Council’s control, such as the price of oil hitting more than (US) $110 a barrel have also impacted on the Council’s finances.

For example, almost half of the cost of re-sealing roads is affected by rising oil prices, says Councillor Clews.

The budgets –including levies for regional facilities such as MOTAT and the Auckland War Memorial Museum (which the Council has no choice but to collect) - would mean a rates increase of around $3 a week for the average residential property.

The public now has the chance to comment. Submissions close on May 14. They can be made on-line at www.waitakere.govt.nz or copies of the plan and submission forms are available at libraries, community centres and Council offices. A special issue of the City’s newsletter (Waitakere News) will also be distributed next week and includes a reply-paid submission form.

Councillor Clews describes the draft budget as a balance between providing core services such as parks, water and wastewater, rubbish, roads and libraries and long term planning in high-growth areas such as the northern part of the City.

“Now we want to hear from ratepayers about whether they think we have got the mix right,” she says.

A key issue highlighted for consultation is the future of the City’s inorganic rubbish collection. At the moment residents have an annual collection of household inorganic rubbish. Councillors are considering a change to an on-demand, user-pays, collection system, managed through a 0900 telephone number or vouchers for the City’s waste transfer station.

The present system costs $639,000 year. Any change would help address illegal dumping by commercial operators and people from outside the City, health and safety concerns, and could save up to $589,000.


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