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Council commits to transport, open space, urban de

MEDIA RELEASE
18 November 2004

Council commits to transport, open space, urban design

In the first formal discussions for the city’s annual plan, the Auckland City Council today confirmed its priorities and asked for more information from officers on how to fund them.

The Annual Plan Direction Setting meeting, a special meeting of the Finance and Corporate Business Committee, is held every year to start the annual planning process. All councillors have voting rights.

Committee chairperson, Councillor Vern Walsh says the meeting was an important first step for the new council to start work on its initial budget.

“Auckland City is in good financial shape but the city is facing some major infrastructure issues to meet the needs of the growing population,” he said. “Today we confirmed that the council must place a priority on transport, our open spaces, the character of our city and protecting our heritage.

“No decisions on rates have been made but we’ve asked officers to provide more information on the impacts of introducing new targeted rates to fund new initiatives in these vital areas,” said Mr Walsh.

The council also requested further work be undertaken on the financial implications of removing or reducing the Uniform Annual General Charge of $189 and the Uniform Waste Collection Charge of $129, and incorporating those charges into general rates.

Officers will report back at the next Annual Plan Direction Setting meeting on 9 December and again at the Combined Committees meeting in March. These discussions will form the basis of Auckland City’s budget for the next financial year, starting 1 July 2005. The draft annual plan and budget will be published in April 2005 for public consultation.

“Any rates increase will need to be very clearly justified to the people of Auckland and will be subject to consultation next year. I would like to reassure ratepayers that we will be carefully reviewing where we are spending money currently to ensure the focus is in the right areas,” said Mr Walsh.

Rating options, which the council has agreed require further work, include three new proposed citywide rates increases to fund:

- transport - a targeted rate of 5.5 per cent
- open space and volcanic cones - targeted rate of 1 per cent
- urban design and heritage protection - a rate increase of 0.5 per cent.

Ends


Timeline for Auckland City Council’s annual planning process
18 November 2004 First annual plan direction setting meeting
9 December 2004 Second annual plan direction setting meeting
9 March 2005 The combined committees of council meet to consider priorities and budget for the next financial year starting 1 July 2005.
April 2005 Draft Annual Plan published for public feedback .
May 2005 Public consultation ends.
June 2005 The council will hear verbal feedback on the Draft Annual Plan. The combined committees of council will meet to discuss and consider the public feedback and decide on the final plans.
July 2005 Final Annual Plan 2006 is published.

Ref: SMc

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