11 June 2007
Hamilton City Council has completed its final budget meeting for the 2007/2008 financial year and is still planning a slight reduction in rates from what was outlined in the ten year plan adopted last year.
Council is proposing an average rates rise of 5.94 per cent for current Hamilton ratepayers, compared to the 6.08 per cent it had indicated for the 2007/08 year when producing the Long Term Plan for the city. The proposed rate rise includes an allowance for inflation of approximately 3 per cent.
Council carries out a significant review of the ten-year plan every three years, with the intervening years, such as the coming year, regarded as closely following the budget and projects previously approved by Council following community consultation.
Hamilton mayor Bob Simcock says there have been some changes to the budget following the public consultation and submission process for the coming year, which has meant less than half a per cent added to rates from what was in the Proposed Annual Plan.
"While there is a need for constant monitoring of the programme, Council already has an ambitious development plan for the city in the next few years, and it is important that we are extremely disciplined when it comes to considering additional projects and expenditure. However, Council did get a strong message from the community that heritage is an extremely important issue and we have responded accordingly in our final Plan.
Council has allocated an additional $250,000 in the coming year to consider comprehensive local area heritage plans for the Hamilton East and Frankton areas. In addition, Council has also moved $130,000 from the unfunded to the funded section of the Plan to ensure the completion of the first stage of restoration for the Rangiriri river boat. Other significant funding decisions include more money ($120,000) to complete urgent District Plan changes.
"Apart from these additions, our major immediate projects for the city remain our commitment to addressing transportation issues through roading and passenger transport (Access Hamilton) as well as upgrading the Central Business District. The Plan also includes the redevelopment of the Claudelands Events Centre," says Mr Simcock.
Other matters raised by Council at the Annual Plan meeting include concern that Government has made cuts to the rental housing upgrade programme. These cuts have had a negative impact on Hamilton City Council's ability to upgrade its rental housing stock as it had planned. Council will approach the Minister of Housing with a request to seek reinstatement of the funding for rental housing.
Council also made some small increases to the annual funding for surf life saving in the Northern and Bay of Plenty regions. Funding will be set at $21,000 per year for each region until the issue is examined again in two years time.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Name: Bob Simcock
Tel (Direct): 0 7 838 6976
Mobile: 021 991 071
Name: Philip Burton
Designation: General Manager Communication and Marketing
Tel (Direct): 0 7 838 6507
Mobile: 021 428 748
Fax (Direct): 0 7 838 6761