Porirua City Council has confirmed its Annual Plan, sticking to the budget set out in the Long-term Plan (LTP) adopted last year.
Every three years the Council is required to produce a Long-term Plan, with annual plans in the non-LTP years. In June last year Council adopted the LTP 2021-2051 after wide community consultation.
Mayor Anita Baker said it was important that Council stayed true to what was agreed with the community during the LTP process.
"Your input guided us to strike a balance between funding essential services and core infrastructure, while keeping rates increases to a minimum," she said.
"Because there are no significant changes this year, we have decided not to consult again. The budget is in line with the LTP, and the average rates increase of 7.65 per cent remains the same."
Mayor Baker said Council was also still committed to the focus clearly set out in the LTP - improving our ageing infrastructure so it meets the needs of Porirua people, the health of Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour, and the city’s future growth.
"Investment in 3 Waters infrastructure continues to be a priority," she said.
"We’re continuing work on the major, multi-year 3 Waters projects in the LTP, which include $43.8m for a wastewater storage tank in the CBD, $16.8m for a new reservoir in Aotea and $40m for the wastewater main upgrade in Bothamley Park in partnership with Kainga Ora."
Transport issues were also being addressed, and these were essential with the significant growth in the city, and new connections with Te Ara Nui o Te Rangihaeata (Transmission Gully motorway), Mayor Baker said.
"With recent growth in the Kenepuru area, we have budgeted $19.3m from year 1 through to year 5 of the LTP, to improve local roads, walking and cycling routes, including an upgrade to the Kenepuru Drive/Titahi Bay Road intersection."
The budget also includes $10.1m over three years for the Wi Neera to Onepoto shared cycling and pedestrian path to improve the connection between the city centre and Titahi Bay, $4m for three years for Whitford Brown Avenue corridor improvements, $2.6m for the first two years of the LTP toward extending the life of Spicer Landfill, and $2m toward improvements at Trash Palace.
"With more intense weather events our response to climate change is now urgent," Mayor Baker said. "We’ve invested $20m to address flooding hotspots across the city. We’ve also budgeted $6m across 2022/23 to 2023/24 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Council facilities, reduce organic waste going to the landfill and accelerate the transition of Council’s vehicle fleet to electric vehicles."
Mayor Baker said that Council was acutely aware that the community was still feeling the impacts of Covid, both economically and socially.
"Many people are struggling with cost of living increases and some small businesses have been hit hard. As a result, the Council decided to pause the implementation of paid parking until March 2023.
"From 1 July, we’re also removing library fines to make sure all our residents can access library services."
Mayor Baker said the Council was mindful of the challenges people were facing when it made the decision to stick to the agreed rates increase, despite the Council too facing increasing costs.
"We know that rates increases add pressure to household budgets, and we urge you to spread these costs over the year to make things a little easier.
"However, we also know that failing to make critical investments in our infrastructure and essential services would cost much more in the long run, so we’ve worked hard to find a balance."
30 Jun 2022