Council Agrees Long Term Financial Strategy
Cost savings on the Hutt Valley and Wainuiomata wastewater project have led to Hutt City Council’s long-term proposed rates increases being substantially lower than expected, Mayor John Terris said today.
“Our original projected rate increase was 16% over the next 10 years. This has now been reduced to between 6% and 10%. The difference between the two figures depends upon whether or not our ratepayers wish us to sell our pensioner housing,” he said.
“If we sell the housing it would translate into a decrease of four percent off the proposed rate increases. In cash terms, we’re talking of a rate increase on an average property of about $130.”
Mayor Terris said the wastewater project outcome had made a difference to the Council’s long-term plans.
“I’m pleased to be able to report to ratepayers that the outcome of the negotiations between the Council and Hutt Valley Wastewater Services for the construction and operation of the wastewater treatment plant is of major financial benefit to ratepayers. Our plant, which has the same capacity as Wellington’s, is going to cost about one-third of the price of the Moa Point project.
“This is the basis for the much lower rate increase than originally anticipated. Our original projections were that the combined cost of the Hutt Valley and Wainuiomata upgrades would be $78 million. The negotiated price is a considerably lower $55 million and a very considerable increase in service, providing a major cleanup of the harbour edges and the Wainuiomata stream,” Mayor Terris said.
The Long Term Financial Strategy, part of the Council’s draft Strategic Plan, presents the two options outlined above for public consideration and the Council will make a final decision at the end of February. The draft Strategic Plan will be available for public comment before Christmas.
“On a personal note, I think I should add that I have never supported the sale of Council pensioner housing myself, but it is fair to give ratepayers, who should have the final say, the opportunity to express their view for or against. We are also asking them to choose between meeting the increase in one year, or spreading it over several years,” Mayor Terris said.