Hot debate as PCC fixes 3pc rates rise
Porirua residents are looking at a 3 per cent rates rise in the coming year following the city council signing off its draft Annual Plan last week.
Mayor Nick Leggett said he was comfortable with the reductions and additions proposed at a meeting of the full council last week, which kept them in line with the Long Term Plan (LTP) forecast.
‘‘We have worked hard to be able to absorb within that 3 per cent [rise], significant new costs that have arisen since the LTP was adopted in June 2012.’’
Increases include insurance premiums ($225,000), the Pauatahanui sewerage scheme ($ 276,000), a new Emergency Management Office ($ 100,000) and a review of PCC’s expenditure and service delivery ($100,000). This last item was hotly debated, with Mr Leggett using his casting vote to approve it after a 7-7 split among councillors.
Deputy mayor Liz Kelly said too much money was spent on reviews and not enough on infrastructure, but those in favour said organisations needed to look at where money was being spent and what efficiencies could be made.
‘‘We need someone, independent of this council, to analyse what we are doing. We should not be afraid of that,’’ Mr Leggett said. ‘‘It’s important this [$100,000] stays in so that we can have a transparent process that our ratepayers expect.’’
He called the draft Annual Plan pragmatic and prudent, helping the city ‘‘move forward positively during a time of widespread change’’.
It was time to hear the community’s views, he said.
Councillor Litea Ah Hoi said it was one of the lowest proposed rate increases she could recall during her tenure on council and it reflected well on her colleagues and council officers.
Councillor Ken Douglas, however, took a swipe at officers, noting that incorrectly-stated targets for stormwater, wastewater and water supply in the LTP due to typographical errors were ‘‘stupid’’.
The council’s general manager of corporate services Euan Dempsey said they were still on track to be in surplus in three years’ time.
Public consultation runs from March 25 to April 26 with the draft plan available from libraries, the council administration building in Cobham Court or at pcc.govt.nz.