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Council’s plan for the year adopted

Council remains largely on track heading into year two of its 2018 – 2028 Long Term Plan (LTP), with only a few amendments required in the final Annual Plan for 2019/2020.

Yesterday Council adopted its plan and struck the rates for the next financial year, beginning on 1 July 2019.

The Council’s forecast total revenue from rates will remain in line with the financial strategy and the majority of properties will receive an increase between 3 – 5%.

The key change is revised costings for bringing forward the wastewater treatment disinfection.

Moving the project forward to meet the consent timeline of implementation by 2020 will increase Council’s overall external debt to $73m, slightly up on the estimates of $70m.

Some capital projects are carrying budget over into the new financial year, including walking and cycling and the Olympic Pool project.

A new business case will be developed in the second half of 2019 to look at cycle links from east to west of the city.

Council will undertake engagement with the community on options for a number of routes, including Rutene Road, to determine where Council and NZ Transport Agency funding should be prioritised.

The Olympic Pool Redevelopment will also seek further feedback to finalise the concept plans and begin securing the external funding needed to complete the upgrade.

Some major milestones will be achieved between now and July 2020 including the upgrade to Lawson Field Theatre, due to be opened in September.

The first 4km of the Waipaoa Flood Scheme upgrade will be completed next summer.

Work is on track for delivering the inner harbour and Puhi Kai Iti Cook Landing Site redevelopments.

Storytelling and interpretation elements to acknowledge tipuna (ancestors), navigators and first arrivals in New Zealand will be completed in time for Tuia 250 commemorations in October.

Work to deliver elements of the Navigate Tairawhiti project like the 1000-year Walk Bridge and Titirangi Summit will continue into 2020.

Council’s Drainwise team will focus on a number of projects to address drainage issues on private property to reduce rainwater getting into the wastewater system.

An awareness campaign has been launched to help homeowners identify issues with drains on their properties which will contribute to reducing overflows into our rivers.

The second phase of the Managed Aquifer Recharge Trial will begin this winter and will aim to gather further hydrological data and understand wider cultural impacts.

Slight increases were made to Township plan budgets for the 2019/20 year with Manutuke improvements underway and Muriwai and East Cape communities currently planning.

Roading is a significant focus for 2019/20. Funding from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund will enable emergency and resilience upgrades to vital links to be completed.

Because there were no significant material changes for year two of the LTP there was no formal consultation on the Annual Plan.

Changes to fees and charges for 2019/20 were consulted on during March and April and adopted along with the Plan. The proposed changes reflected the true cost of each individual service to ensure the person benefiting from the service was charged accurately, rather than costs falling on the general ratepayer.

The Annual Plan 2019/20 final document and final fees and charges document will be available on Council’s website next week.

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