Christchurch rates increase slightly higher than forecast

By Star.kiwi reporter

A rates increase of 5.5 per cent is slightly more than Mayor Lianne Dalziel wanted. Photo / Michael Craig
A rates increase of 5.5 per cent is slightly more than Mayor Lianne Dalziel wanted. Photo / Michael Craig

Rates are likely to increase by 5.5 per cent at the end of June.

The Christchurch City Council has released its draft annual plan for the next financial year.

It will be discussed at a special city council meeting on Tuesday. Public consultation on the plan will run from March 20 until April 28, with a final decision to be made in June.

In the draft, average rates are proposed to rise by 5.5 per cent.

Last year Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she had hoped to cap rates increases at 5 per cent.

Although 5.5 per cent was slightly higher than forecast, the mayor said it reflected the level of work being done by the council.

Christchurch city council had adjusted its capital works programme to keep the proposed rates as low as possible, Dalziel said.

"Keeping the average rates increase as low as possible has been a major priority. It's vital we strike the best balance between affordability for ratepayers and the timely delivery of the city's projects, and I think we have achieved that."

Rates would make up 42 per cent of the city council's funding as part of the plan.

Also, the council will invest nearly half a billion dollars into the city in the next financial year.

"Of the nearly half a billion dollars we're proposing to invest in Christchurch next year, $270 million of that funding is already committed to major projects coming to fruition across facilities, water and transport," Dalziel said.

"Typically, we would have less than $50 million committed as we move into a new financial year, so that gives a sense of the sheer number and scale of the projects under way around the city at the moment."

As part of the draft plan, the Christchurch council has adjusted its capital works programme, which would reduce its borrowing by $120m next year.

Dalziel said it had reviewed priorities, budgets and timings carefully in a bid to keep up momentum.

"This means we are spending money only when we need to in a project's time line, allowing us to prioritise more pressing repairs and rebuilds in the communities that need them most."

She said that did not mean the council was doing less, or that there would be delays to essential projects.

"It simply means some spending on long-term projects will happen in future years."

- Christchurch Star

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