14/12/2017 12:55:00 p.m.
14 December 2017
The fifth and final day of Hamilton City Council’s deliberations on the draft 10-Year Plan concluded yesterday, producing a draft plan which will go to public consultation next year.
Mayor Andrew King says the budget sets out the Council’s vision for a stronger, more sustainable and more liveable city, and now it’s the turn of the community to give their views.
“This is the Council’s plan but it’s not the final plan. Over coming months our community has the chance to shape it into Hamilton’s plan. No budget will satisfy everyone, and I have no doubt there will be strong views from the residents of our diverse city about what’s important to them.
“Yesterday was a milestone moment for our city. After months of briefings, reports on every aspect of the services we provide to the city, and five days of intense and thoughtful debate, I believe we have a blueprint for Hamilton’s success,” Mayor King says.
“I believe this draft plan means we can deliver on years of promises. It creates a sustainable financial future that allows us to properly plan for growth and the opportunities that brings. It delivers a transport strategy to provide safer roads and manage the increased traffic more people will bring. It offers millions of dollars in new recreational space and facilities for our communities, including a new library in Rototuna, new Destination Playgrounds and parks and improved aquatic facilities.
“It lets us take advantage of an interest-free loan from the Government to deliver new infrastructure for our city while saving our ratepayers $70 million.
“We are investing in looking after the things we have. Maintenance and renewals budgets have been increased to improve the levels of service we offer our residents.
“But this is not just about everyday costs. This budget signals we want to offer a city our residents can be proud of. We are funding improvements to our award-winning Hamilton Gardens, supporting a new regional theatre and planning for a central city which finally embraces our greatest natural asset, the mighty Waikato River,” Mayor King says.
“All the data shows our rates have been too low as our economic environment has changed. As a result, services have suffered, maintenance has suffered and we haven’t been able to invest in the infrastructure we need.
“Earlier this year I said our Council needed to make some tough decisions and not leave a bigger burden on future ratepayers.
“We have made those tough decisions, but we have done so in a way which spreads the load as much as possible and ensures growth will make a bigger contribution to our city’s costs.
“To deliver this budget and ensure we have a sustainable financial strategy this Council has proposed a rates increase of 9.5 per cent in the first year and 9.5 per cent in Year 2, with a 3.8 per cent rise after that. The Year 2 increase could be substantially offset by a potential regional fuel tax and we will be working closely with the Government to achieve this.
“Our rates will still be lower than some other growth councils, and we have asked for substantial savings from the organisation to ensure we continue to be financially secure,” Mayor King says.
“We have had our say and we have laid out what I believe is a budget which meets Hamilton’s needs, is responsible, courageous and aspirational. Now, it is up to you, our city’s residents, ratepayers and business owners.
“There will be a lot of interest and views on this plan. I welcome those views as this is a document which will define the future of our city. I thank the Councillors, staff and members of the public who have provided input into this stage of the plan and I look forward to our consultation process.”
The Hamilton City Council draft 10-Year Plan will go to public consultation early next year, including a submissions process and hearings, before adoption of the final plan in June 2018.
The public will have the opportunity to comment on all proposals, including those which are unfunded in the draft plan, during the consultation period from 29 March 2018.
A dedicated 10-Year Plan page section on the Council’s website contains formal resolutions and further detail - hamilton.govt.nz/10yearplan.