Kapiti Coast Councillors have been told average rates increase for 2014/15 could be reduced by nearly 30% — to an average of 4.81%, compared to 6.8% noted in the Long Term Plan last year.
Mayor Ross Church says the new rates were discussed at the first of several KCDC workshops to consider spending priorities.
These are part of the Proposed Annual Plan for the next financial year.
The workshops, which are open to the public, will run through this month to early March.
The Mayor, who’s Workshop Chair, says 2014/15 is a year of consolidation for Council.
He says: “With significant projects such as the Coastlands Aquatic Centre and upgraded Civic Building completed and, the water supply project, water meters and the expressway well underway, this is a year to take stock and tighten the purse strings.”
The Mayor also says he is pleased with the steps Council has taken to reach an indicative average rates increase of just 4.81%. However, he says, the final figure will depend on whether Councillors, in the workshops, agree with the proposed changes.
“When we began the annual planning process late last year we had some large costs to address.” he says.
“A considerable effort has gone into reviewing all expenditure and making some hard decisions. Underpinning our discussions over the coming weeks will be a determination to further contain costs and make every dollar count for the benefit of Kāpiti.”
Mayor Church says cuts of $5.9m were achieved through reductions in capital works and a further $3.2m gained through reducing operational spending.
Some savings have been made through proposed reductions in strategic land purchases and parks and reserve spending.
A proposed youth centre for Kāpiti may be deferred. A second hydroslide for the Coastlands Aquatic Centre may also be put on hold. There is also a proposal to delay the refit of the old Raumati pool building and to reduce projected spending on economic development.
Inflation makes up 1.53% of the projected 4.81% average rate increase.
Seven workshops will be held to discuss aspects of the Draft Annual plan. Residents are welcome to attend the sessions, held in Council Chambers in the Civic Building. Details can be found on the Council website www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/draft-annual-plan
Following the workshops, the draft plan will be presented to Council for formal consideration on 20 March. Once adopted, it will be open for public consultation and submissions from 26 March to 28 April 2014.
“We want to make sure we hear what ratepayers have to say,” says Mr Church. “I encourage people to look at the Draft Annual Plan and submit on any issues they feel strongly about. Community input will determine the projects that will be undertaken and the final rates figure.”
The Draft Annual Plan and submission form will be published on Council’s website www.kapiticoast.govt.nz from 26 March. Printed copies will also be available at Council service centres and libraries.