City sets tough budget
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.