Council annual plan consultation starts next Monday

Auckland Council’s annual plan will go out to public consultation on Monday 15 February with a proposed overall increase of 3.2%, although it could still be cut to 2.5%. The closing date for consultation has been extended from 15 March to 24 March.

The council’s governing body adopted supporting information for the consultation process and the draft operating plan today, with some last-minute tinkering.

The consultation document & feedback options will be on the council’s Shape Auckland website, its Our Auckland publication will contain a summary, and the council will hold 27 Have your say events around the region (all listed on Shape Auckland). It wasn’t finally determined if large-print documents would be available, which Cllrs Cathy Casey & Wayne Walker had advocated.

Local board briefings & workshops will be held from 13-28 April and the council’s finance & performance committee will hold discussions with the boards, plus briefings & workshops from then until 11 May, making a decision on 13 May.

The governing body will meet to adopt the final annual plan on 30 June.

Cllr Ross Clow, who put forward an alternative to the mayor’s annual plan & rating proposal last year based on a 2.5% overall increase, questioned going out to consultation with a 3.2% increase proposed when nobody round the council table had any intention of the rates hitting that level.

Mayor Len Brown said that, ultimately, he hoped to move a 2.5% increase “justified by our reading of the balance sheet. The sentiment is there but we haven’t backed that with a resolution. Without a specific recommendation you have to go with the long-term plan”.

That 10-year plan through to 2025 has rating levels budgeted every year, and 3.2% is the figure for the next financial year, starting 1 July.

Financial strategy & planning general manager Matthew Walker thought staff had captured the spirit of the mayor direction, but said: “We think you would be jumping the gun [writing in the possibility of a 2.5% rise]. There is plenty of pressure all over the business. It could well be your interim transport levy settings that determine where the overall levy ends up.”

Link: Shape Auckland

Attribution: Council meeting.

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