City sets tough bud­get

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

A ‘‘ tough bud­get for tough times’’ summed up the sign­ing off of Porirua City Coun­cil’s draft long-term plan last week.

In­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment and pru­dent debt man­age­ment were the keys to the next 10 years, Mayor Nick Leggett said, as the coun­cil aims to be in sur­plus by 2017.

‘‘I’m proud of the pri­or­i­ties we have set. This [ LTP] is re­newed ev­ery three years be­cause we are in a world of change, but we are well set up to respond to what lies ahead.’’

He in­sisted that re­ports of ‘‘cut­ting things’’ were over­stated – even if re­moval of 25 lit­ter bins across the city, re­duc­ing com­mu­nity grants and slash­ing li­brary hours have been mooted – although sav­ings across all PCC bud­gets would need to be made.

City of­fi­cials were not ‘‘ sit­ting pretty’’, as cuts were com­ing to ad­min­is­tra­tion, HR and IT ar­eas.

Leaky homes costs, the rise in in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums, and fu­ture Trans­mis­sion Gully link roads would add pres­sure on the city’s cof­fers.

Pro­vid­ing $25 mil­lion for strate­gic prop­erty pur­chases might not sit well with some ratepay­ers, Mr Leggett said, but that was so land could be se­cured and in­vest­ments made to re­lieve the rates bur­den, ‘‘ and I ab­so­lutely stand by the coun­cil’s need to do that’’.

Cor­po­rate ser­vices man­ager Euan Dempsey says it was a chal­lenge to cre­ate a bal­anced bud­get but they are fore­cast­ing ‘‘ get­ting into the black’’ in 2016-17 in­stead of 2018-19. Car­ry­ing less debt and us­ing more cash re­serves is cru­cial to achiev­ing this.

The public can have their say on the draft from to­day un­til May 3.

Sub­mis­sions will be heard on May 16-18 and the final LTP adopted on June 27.

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