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Hutt City Council Gives Clear Direction On Priorities For Next 10 Years

Hutt City Council met yesterday to make decisions on key parts of the Long Term Plan (LTP) 2024 - 34.

Mayor Campbell Barry says difficult decisions need to be made between now and next year’s LTP on where to prioritise spending.

"We’re in a tough economic climate. The rising cost of living is making life very difficult for many ratepayers," he says.

"Families are stretching their budgets and businesses are struggling with higher costs. We need to prioritise what we need to do and what we can ask our community to pay for.

"We are not alone in these challenging times. Councils up and down the country are facing significant rates rises in order to both meet fixed essential costs and invest in much-needed transport and water infrastructure.

"Fixing our pipes and other water infrastructure is our top priority and is expected to cost $1.5B over the next ten years.

"The Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant alone requires significant investment urgently, with over $110M budgeted for the next few years. This work is critical to ensuring the plant complies with its consents.

"There has been historical under-investment, and it will continue to cost us unless we act now."

"The challenges with water infrastructure, and the cost burden it will put on our ratepayers demonstrates why reform is desperately needed. Council’s funding and financing tools simply can’t cope with the cost of dealing with decades of under-investment, growth and aging assets. We need the new government to act with urgency to address this now."

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Rising fuel prices, increased inflation and supply chain demand are driving up costs in every area of Council expenditure.

Council is currently proposing a 15.9% rates revenue increase (after growth), an average of $9.89 per residential property. Most of this increase relates to unavoidable cost pressures including water infrastructure and services, transport, insurances, and higher interest rates on borrowing.

We are working through the key focus areas for the consultation. These will be presented to the community and people can have their say during the LTP consultation in April next year.

Elected members will consider this feedback before the LTP is finalised on 30 June 2024.

"Everyone’s voice on our Long Term Plan matters. We're making these plans for all of us, so everyone should have their say. We want our plans to match what people really need and care about. So, when the draft Long Term Plan goes out for consultation in April, make sure you are heard."

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