Prudent decisions get city back on track


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8 June 2012

Key decisions made this week by Hamilton City Council on its 10-Year Plan will ensure the city gets back on track financially, while still allowing for a range of citywide development.
The Mayor and Councillors today signed off on the city’s 2012-22 Plan, setting a total rates increase of 3.8% for each of the next 10 years, reducing what it costs to run the city by $15 million over the next three years and reducing debt levels from $700 million to around $440 million for the next 10 years.
The views of 725 written submissions and of around 200 people who shared their views in person during five days of hearings were also taken into account.
Commenting Mayor Julie Hardaker said the Council has delivered a budget which is achievable, financially prudent and which meets the needs of Hamilton as a growing city.
“The decisions taken will see our city return to living within its means, address citywide debt while setting one of the city’s lowest rates increases in the past 10 years.  Importantly, this budget ensures the Council continues to deliver a city people want to live in and do business in.
“We have got the balance right and now that the budget has been set, it's time to start looking to the future and deliver on the plans and goals the Council has set.  There is still lots of work to do."
Key decisions agreed in the Plan include:
  • Selling three lower standard pensioner housing complexes on the open market, with offers from sympathetic buyers encouraged;
  • Retaining ownership of 21 remaining pensioner housing complexes and explore with community organisations their involvement and a social housing strategy;
  • Selling on the open market the Pembroke St property where the YMCA operates to a provider who will continue to use it for recreational and related purposes;
  • Closing the Municipal Pool for up to a year while negotiations are explored with interested parties on its future, that $50,000 be allocated to investigate the pool’s leak, and this matter come back to Council within the year;
  • Reducing overall spending on community grants, with a further Council workshop later this month to decide the allocation of this money;
  • Reducing event sponsorship funding by $500,000, with financial support for Hamilton and Waikato Tourism (RTO) remaining at present funding levels;
  • Retaining the gully restoration programme, with annual funding of plants to be sourced externally;
  • A proposed referendum on fluoride to run alongside the 2013 Council elections not proceed with this matter referred to Strategy and Policy Committee for consideration for a way forward;
  • Standardising of rates paid by community/church organisations with retail shops will be phased in over three years to a rate which is 50% of the commercial rate;
  • A range of increases to fees and charges across most areas of Council;
  • Deferring the Development Contributions policy proposals to allow more work to be done with submitters.
Council will adopt the Plan on Friday 29 June along with the audit review.
Visit 10 Year Plan for more information on the Plan and the process.
Julie Hardaker
Hamilton Mayor
07 833 6976
Tracy Buckland
Communication Manager
07 838 6434
021 815 604
Page reviewed: 08 Jun 2012 5:00pm