A packed public gallery, a range of views from Hamilton community members and detailed debate around the Council table marked the opening of the debate for the city’s 10-Year Plan at Hamilton City Council yesterday.
The debate continues today as the Council works towards delivering a draft plan which will go out for community consultation next year.
Chief Executive Richard Briggs says the 10-Year Plan process is an opportunity for the community to work with the Council as it sets out its priorities for the city for the next decade and how those priorities will be funded.
“The Council reviews its 10-Year Plan every three years. The Mayor sets an initial budget, with his recommendations, and then Councillors debate the proposals, develop new ones, and eventually create a document which sets out a financial plan and vision for the city,” Mr Briggs says.
Yesterday’s meeting opened with presentations from 13 members of the community on budget topics including the proposed 15.5% rates rise, indoor recreation and sports development, management of pools, playgrounds, Hamilton Gardens and cycleways.
In addition to the items already proposed in Mayor Andrew King’s initial budget, a further proposal to work with Government to consider an 11.5c per litre fuel tax for the city to support transport development was presented and approved.
The Council approved a growth scenario for Hamilton which includes spending to manage growth and identified Peacocke as the preferred greenfield development option for the city, subject to the Council agreeing to progress funding via the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, (HIF). The full business case for the HIF project is due to be considered by the Council today.
Council also approved its financial strategy framework, including a debt-to-revenue cap of 230 per cent, approved a revised fees and charges schedule, and approved investment of $494.4 million across 10 years in maintenance and renewals budgets to look after existing assets. Funding of $78.7 million was approved for expenditure to ensure the Council meets compliance requirements, including new requirements such as legislative changes for seismic performance of buildings.
Once the Council approves a draft plan it will go to public consultation early next year, including a submissions process and hearings, before adoption of the final plan in June 2018.