Porirua res­i­dents to pay for treats

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Porirua res­i­dents are fac­ing a 4.8 per cent rates rise, if the city coun­cil’s draft an­nual plan is given the green light.

How­ever, there is a pay­off, with a $500,000 splash pad, $12 mil­lion to­wards the city cen­tre and an in­vest­ment of $1m in a per­form­ing arts cen­tre all fea­tures of the plan.

Bal­anc­ing the bud­get and bring­ing debt down was im­por­tant in the 2015-2025 draft plan, which was signed off last week, Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said. But rate in­creases were in­evitable.

In the first year, res­i­dents could face a 4.8 per cent rate in­crease – about $124 more per year on a $381,000 prop­erty.

Leggett said hav­ing 74 per cent of the coun­cil’s rev­enue com­ing from rates, com­pared to the na­tional av­er­age of 54 per cent, would al­ways make bud­get­ing dif­fi­cult.

‘‘That’s a $13m dif­fer­ence in real terms and we have fewer ratepay­ers than might be ex­pected for our pop­u­la­tion. Yet we pro­vide the same lev­els of ser­vice and func­tions as other coun­cils,’’ he said.

Leggett said get­ting the ba­sics right with­out com­pro­mis­ing on core in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices was a bal­anc­ing act.

‘‘We want to en­sure our young peo­ple can look for­ward to living in a city that plans for to­day, but with their fu­ture in mind, too.

‘‘ This has meant that the op­por­tu­nity for sig­nif­i­cant so­cial in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment is de­layed un­til the end of the 10-year pe­riod of this plan.’’

Also in the draft plan is a new chil­dren’s pri­or­ity that places the needs and as­pi­ra­tions of young peo­ple first.

Updating the Cob­ham Court area will cost $12m over the next three years, ac­cord­ing to the draft plan.

The much-ma­ligned Lyt­tel­ton Ave toi­lets will be shifted to Cob­ham Court, mak­ing the space more pedes­trian friendly, and a fi­nal de­ci­sion will be made on the Canopies be­ing re­placed.

A splash pad, sim­i­lar to the one at Marine Gar­dens in Rau­mati Beach, has made it in again, two years af­ter Pukerua Bay res­i­dent Elaine Thom­sen put the idea to the coun­cil.

Spe­cialised wa­ter play equip­ment, such as jets, wa­ter can­nons and wa­ter buck­ets, will be built in 2016 or 2017, at a cost of $500,000.

The re­cent ap­proach by Aotea Col­lege to part­ner with the coun­cil in a new au­di­to­rium that would serve the school and wider com­mu­nity has also been in­cluded in the draft plan.

Leggett said the coun­cil pro­posed to con­trib­ute $1m to­wards the fa­cil­ity in 2017-18.

The coun­cil will also con­sider live stream­ing of coun­cil meet­ings – at a cost of $65,000 in the next 12 months.

The public can com­ment on the draft plan un­til May 1.

Reg­is­ter to have your say on­line at havey­our­say.pcc.govt.nz.

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