Council staff have knocked $5m out of next year's budget to drop Tauranga's expected rates increase to just under 10 per cent.
In October the estimated increase for 2018-19 was sitting at just shy of 20 per cent. Revised figures presented to the council in November put it at 13.6 per cent.
In a workshop yesterday the council's chief financial officer, Paul Davidson, put forward new numbers for the 10-year budget showing next year's rise sitting at 9.7 per cent.
He said staff had reassessed estimates for salary costs across all projects and committed to reducing them by $3m. Precisely what areas those salary savings would come from was still being worked out.
He also recommended the council not put the planned $2m into the council's risk reserve fund for the year to further reduce the increase.
Instead, it could do as it had done in previous years and top up the risk reserve fund at the end of the year with any operational savings, for example, interest savings from delayed capital.
Councillors congratulated staff on the reduction.
In meetings on December 15 and 18, the council will consider culling or reducing some projects to bring rates rise estimates for the 10-year budget down further.
The council will sign off a final draft of the budget early next year and take it to the community for formal consultation in March and April.
The budget will be adopted and the rates set in June.