22 November 2017
A proposed investment of $95 million for new community infrastructure and $123 million for maintenance and renewals of existing community assets was discussed at a public briefing at Hamilton City Council yesterday. The briefing outlined further elements of Mayor Andrew King’s initial draft budget for the city’s 10-Year Plan.
“The briefing presented a balance between providing new assets for the community and making a responsible investment in looking after the things we already have,” Mayor Kings says.
The proposals, which will be debated by the Council on December 6, include $30 million for a regional theatre, $28.4 million for sports fields, parks and a new community hub and library in Rototuna, $23 million for development of Hamilton Gardens and $3 million to upgrade 14 neighbourhood playgrounds. The Hamilton Gardens investment is expected to be significantly offset by revenue from a charge of $25 for non-Hamilton residents over the age of 18.
Mayor Andrew King says the public briefing was an opportunity to further lay out some of the framework for the draft budget ahead of the 6 December meeting. He says the proposals are a starting point for Councillors to debate where they, and the community, see the priorities for Hamilton.
“There’s a lot of work to do before we finalise a budget for our city. We’re working hard to see where we can make savings and reduce potential rates rises for our ratepayers.
“We have already talked about funding the challenges of growth, and the $220 million in the initial budget for roads, road safety, public transport and our biking network. Yesterday we looked at how we invest in the things that make Hamilton a community.”
The briefing included $3.9 million to upgrade Garden Place, a proposal which was part of a separate presentation earlier in the day during which private supporters of the upgrade indicated they expected around $1 million of the project to be funded by the private sector.
“I have the responsibility to deliver an initial budget for the Council to consider and expect there will be strong debate from Councillors and the community over what projects should be funded in the plan, what should be out, and what new projects should be included,” Mayor King says.
“Within this draft budget is $123 million in maintenance and renewals for community infrastructure over the next 10 years. Recent budgets have focussed on cost savings which has led to deterioration of some community facilities. We’re playing catch-up, but I believe we must invest in looking after what we have now. This includes $14 million for our aquatic facilities, $10.6 million for Destination Parks* and almost $12 million for sports parks.
“Overall, my initial budget proposes investing more than ever in Hamilton’s growth, infrastructure, transport and community projects in the next 10 years,” Mayor King says.
“Our Council has some big decisions to make about what we want our city to look like in the next decade, and what our ratepayers, our communities and our businesses want and need. We have challenges and we have opportunities and we must face both.
“If we don’t get this right now, it will cost us more in the future. I don’t believe we should leave these hard decisions to a future Council or future ratepayers,” Mayor King says.
Hamilton City Council will debate the initial 10-Year Plan budget from 6 December, followed by a public consultation process early next year and adoption of the final plan in June 2018.
*Please note, an earlier version of this release incorrectly referenced the Destination Parks renewals budget as for Destination Playgrounds.