Council Adopts Long-Term Plan
Hamilton City Council has unanimously adopted a Long-Term Plan for the city.
The Plan and associated budget confirms a government compliance rate of 4.5% and a general annual average rates increase of 4.4%.
The government compliance rate largely pays for additional compliance and regulatory requirements around water, as well as government-driven changes to the District Plan.
Today’s formal adoption of the Plan confirms an annual average rate rise to existing ratepayers of 8.9% across the city in the 2021/22 year, followed by annual 4.9% increases.
It will see Council investing $2.5 billion in capital projects plus a further $3.7 billion on operating activity over the next decade. Specific investments upon which Council sought community feedback include:
- $55 million over 10 years to provide safe walking, biking, scooting and skating routes
- $3 million to upgrade the Gordonton Road/Puketaha Road intersection
- $22 million to upgrade the Borman Road and Horsham Downs intersection as well as the Borman Road East project (including an $8 million subsidy yet to be confirmed)
- $5 million to expand the Hillcrest Library
- A creative sector funding trial of $100,000 per year over three years
- $11 million for a new walking and cycling bridge across the Waikato River
- $6 million to build a seasonal dome over the outdoor pool at Waterworld
- $29 million over 10 years to improve and restore the city’s gullies.
It budgets for Council to balance its books by 2023/24, meaning the city will no longer be borrowing to pay for everyday costs. Council’s debt-to-revenue ratio is forecast to peak at 276% in 2025/26.
Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate thanked staff and Councillors for their work in pulling together a mammoth piece of work for the city. She noted greater community interest and engagement in the Plan, and hoped it signalled an era of increased community involvement in the business of Council.
“We worked really hard to develop this Plan alongside the people of Hamilton and many of decisions we have made directly reflect that. There is a strong focus on core infrastructure and on looking after the assets our city has already invested in,” she said.
“There are huge challenges ahead for us as a city in terms of preparing well for growth and specifically what that means for infrastructure. And of course we have been extremely mindful, especially given Covid-19, of very real and genuine issues around affordability, including for our business ratepayers.”
“So it’s been a difficult balance and there was a lot of testing of assumptions and different scenarios to get to this point.
“But I think we have also fronted up to some significant challenges and seized on some opportunities,” she said.
“We have been prudent and recognised the significant future challenges and opportunities, meeting the needs of a fast growing city, with homes, transport, water services, strong communities and a sustainable environment. These are long-term decisions which will impact on people in our city for generations to come.”
Council today also approved the Development Contributions Policy and the Growth Funding Policy, both to be operative from 1 July 2021.