Budget cuts forced on Rotorua's council by the Government will lead to less maintenance of the district's roads.
Rotorua district councillors were updated on plans to reduce spending on roads around the region by council works manager Peter Dine at a meeting of the council's infrastructure services committee this month.
In June, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) announced it would cut its funding for local roading projects, saying the Rotorua District Council could maintain its existing infrastructure with the money the agency would provide. However, council engineers calculated they would be short about $2.5 million.
The agency provides 47 per cent of the cost of maintenance and renewal of the district's roads and the council applies for funding based on established levels of service required to maintain the network.
Mr Dine told councillors to expect complaints from ratepayers during the next three years as he has to make savings of $850,000 a year.
So far this year Mr Dine has had to cut spending on road maintenance programmes including rural road metalling, where rural roads would be graded instead of metalled, saving $180,000.
However, Mr Dine said this would lead to more wet weather soft spots or potholes, resulting in more complaints.
Another area where he has made savings is in roadside vegetation control. At present the council mows seven times a year. This has been changed to three mows a year, saving about $30,000.
Low-risk maintenance of structures and bridge inspections have also been cut back and residential ratepayers could end up with a few more street lights out in the coming years.
Council chief executive Peter Guerin said in June that Rotorua's roading network would deteriorate in the next three years.
"They [NZTA] say it's enough to cover our local roading network ... our engineers say it's not enough - we will find out who's right after three years," he said.
Mr Dine said he had made cuts for this financial year and was hoping for further savings to be made when maintenance contracts were put out for tender.
"What we are hoping for is another $400,000 in savings through maintenance contract tenders. We're hoping those tender prices come in below inflation rates. If not, we will have to get the knife out and make some further budget cuts.
"Part of that will be looking at individual contracts and where we can make some savings ... council will take on some more of the contract risk - they [contractors] won't have to price risk into their contracts - but we could get the occasional contract needing some more funding due to unforeseen issues."
Mr Dine said the council would conduct a series of meetings to inform ratepayers of the changes in coming months.