Raft of opinions on draft plan

By Natalie Dixon

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Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby has admitted the city council may have got proposed cuts in this year's draft annual plan "very wrong" after more than than 700 people made submissions on the document.

The plan, which includes a 6.7 per cent rates increase and a raft of cuts to keep city debt under control, attracted 776 submissions. Cuts range from axing the mobile library service to reducing swimming pool hours.

Last year's document received 125.

Mr Crosby said the number of submissions was above the norm with issues such as the Greerton Library development, mobile shop fees, mobile library and pool hours attracting the most attention. The proposed stormwater levy had community opposition and support, he said.

Projects attracting submissions include the tertiary facility and the council's plan to donate land, the marine precinct and the Greerton Library, he said. "776 submissions is a high number in my experience and shows that either council got some things very wrong or that we are engaging with the community better than ever."

Councillor Steve Morris told The Bay of Plenty Times he was excited by the high number of submissions because they would show the council where the no-cut zones were.

"I am still adamant that we need to pull back council spending and rein in the debt but these submissions will give me personally a better idea of which areas we can do that and which ones the community does not find palatable," he said.

The plan includes $2.5 million for the Greerton library upgrade, $5 million for the Tauranga Harbour Marine Precinct and $382,000 for a new events strategy.

In total, $385,000 worth of savings have been found by cutting back on street cleaning, mowing, beach grooming and tree maintenance.

Part of the Southern Pipeline project has been delayed, temporarily reducing debt by $3 million and the Waterfront Projects' wharewaka for the Te Awanui waka will be put off until 2015/16, for a savings of $350,000.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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