Four years of rates rises planned for city

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JARED NI­COLL

Bumper rates in­creases are on the cards for Porirua, with an­nual rises of more than 5 per cent pro­posed for the next four years.

Porirua City Coun­cil will mull over pub­lic feed­back on the fi­nan­cial strat­egy as part of its draft Long-Term Plan 2018-2038 process, with a fi­nal de­ci­sion to be made in June.

The pro­posed 5.25 per cent av­er­age in­crease con­sists of a 1.03 per cent gen­eral in­crease, a 2.27 per cent in­crease for in­fra­struc­ture and a 1.95 per cent in­crease to balance the bud­get.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana said a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge fac­ing the city was its wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture.

The Long-Term Plan doc­u­ment showed that al­though the stormwa­ter net­work was in pretty good con­di­tion, it was over ca­pac­ity.

This, along with the waste­water ser­vice be­ing in poor con­di­tion, meant heavy rain caused flood­ing and health risks, which could get worse with cli­mate change.

‘‘This coun­cil’s work­ing hard on keep­ing that spend­ing down, [but] we need to in­vest in that in­fra­struc­ture.’’

The coun­cil was also work­ing with Welling­ton Wa­ter to im­prove the re­siliency of the city’s wa­ter sup­ply. It is plan­ning to in­crease ca­pac­ity with new and up­graded reser­voirs in Els­don, Aotea and Whitby.

Over the first 10 years of the plan, the coun­cil is propos­ing to spend $337.9 mil­lion on cap­i­tal, 32 per cent of which will in­volve waste­water, stormwa­ter and wa­ter sup­ply.

The other sig­nif­i­cant ex­pen­di­ture in­volved road­ing, par­tic­u­larly the link roads and the an­tic­i­pated growth from the Trans­mis­sion Gully mo­tor­way.

Tana said bal­anc­ing the coun­cil’s bud­get by 2021/2022 was a pri­or­ity es­tab­lished in the last Long-Term Plan, and pre­vi­ous rat­ing for de­pre­ci­a­tion had been in­suf­fi­cient. ‘‘The pro­posed 5.25 per cent is only a pro­posal, but the ma­jor­ity of this is try­ing to balance the bud­get and [cover] de­pre­ci­a­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘Part of this is to man­age the is­sues that were be­fore this cur­rent coun­cil, and keep rates low. At the end of four years, I think the av­er­age rates [in­crease] will drop.’’

Roy Baker, the coun­cil’s man­ager of cor­po­rate ser­vices, pointed out it had al­ready achieved lower pro­posed in­creases than in the 2015 LongTerm Plan. ‘‘Rates in Porirua are higher than other coun­cils in the re­gion be­cause there are about 18,800 ratepay­ers pay­ing for ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture for 55,600 peo­ple.’’

About 70 per­cent of the coun­cil’s in­come comes from rates, he said.

Porirua City Coun­cil’s stormwa­ter in­fra­struc­ture is in pretty good con­di­tion, but un­der ca­pac­ity.

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