Closing the 100-year-old municipal pool, selling pensioner housing and the future of the city's indoor sports centres are among contentious decisions facing Hamilton City Council this week.
But figures reveal the council has only $800,000 to spend but millions in requests for the long-term plan.
Council performance general manager Blair Bowcott said small savings had been found which meant the council could choose to spend an extra $400,000 in 2012/13 and 2013/24 while sticking to its financial limits.
The city council earlier committed to keeping rate increases at 3.8 per cent for the next 10 years and to break even within five years to tackle its $412 million debt mountain.
Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman said: "Councillors are very aware that increased spending will reflect on increases in rates from 3.8 per cent ... so the changes will be to live within our means."
Staff have recommended the council sell three pensioner-housing blocks, give charity shops facing high rate increases a 50 per cent remission and defer an unpopular development contribution policy until later in the year.
Other big decisions have been left up to the council.
The most controversial is whether to sell the River Rd, Johnson St and Ascot Reid Ryan pensioner flats, which could be worth $3 million.
Church groups and social services agencies have asked the council to defer the decision and work with them to find other funding sources.
Sports groups and other swimmers will also learn whether their attempts to keep the municipal pool in Victoria St open have succeeded.
The council has been asked to pay about $500,000 to fund immediate remedial work and contribute a further $125,000 a year for operating and capital costs.
The future of the city's indoor sports recreation centres is more complicated.
A last-ditch effort from the Hamilton Indoor Recreation Community Trust to have the centres reinstated could result in changes.
The trust's scaled-back proposal asked the council to contribute $2 million in capital to a three-court indoor facility at Wintec's Rotokauri campus. Staff suggestions include paying for it by selling the YMCA in Pembroke St or scrapping the Te Rapa Sportsdrome upgrade if the new centre goes ahead.
Other issues to be debated are completing the Hamilton ring road, retaining management of Artspost and building the Te Huia Reserve playground.
The long-term plan deliberations take place today and on Friday. The final plan will be adopted on June 29.By Nikki Preston Email Nikki