Have Your Say - It's Important!

Friday 26 June 2020

auranga City Council is urging people to have their say on its revised budget and work plan before consultation closes on Wednesday.

The draft Annual Plan 2020/21 has been revised to take into account the impacts of Covid-19, and the council is keen to hear from the public to help guide the city through some important challenges.

Among other revisions, the council has cut $11 million from its operational budget and is seeking feedback on proposals to reduce spending on some services.

Essential services such as water supply, wastewater, and maintenance of roads and parks will continue unaffected.

The budget still allows for new capital investment of $209 million in much-needed infrastructure, providing a platform for our city to recover once the crisis has passed. This spending will also help stimulate the local economy, support businesses and provide jobs.

The council proposes to increase its debt to 2.5 times its annual revenue. This is considered a prudent level for keeping interest payments affordable and ensuring more can be borrowed in an emergency.

For rates, key proposals include:

•    An overall average rates increase of 4.7%. This would increase rates by 44 cents a week for the median residential ratepayer and $9.32 a week for the median commercial ratepayer

•    Reducing the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC), which is the fixed portion of rates, from $475 a year to $296. This would make rates more affordable for owners of lower-valued properties.

•    A commercial differential of 1:1.2, meaning businesses pay $1.20 in general rates for every $1 paid by homeowners for properties of the same value. The differential is low compared with other major cities and recognises that businesses benefit more from council services and infrastructure.

We have looked at ways to further reduce expenditure on services we provide to the community, and are seeking feedback on these measures. We have also reviewed and reprioritised our budget for capital expenditure.

The council is also consulting on user fees, the draft Development Contributions Policy, and changes to the Revenue and Finance Policy.

Consultation documents and other information can be found at www.tauranga.govt.nz/annualplan2020.

Printed copies of the consultation documents are available at libraries and our Willow St service centre.

Key dates

Public consultation: closes 1 July
Submission hearings: 2 – 7 July
Council deliberations: 15 – 17 July
Adoption of annual plan: 30 July