|6 July 2000|
City Rates Rise Set By Council
The Christchurch City Councils overall rate increase has been set today at 2.35 per cent.
The original recommendation was that the increase be 2.48 per cent. But when Councillors decided to drop a review of the Council activities this figure was reduced.
Councillors devoted five hours to the budget debate.
Total rates required will be $128.74 million and residential ratepayers will face an average increase of 2.48 per cent, commercial-industrial ratepayers 2.40 per cent and rural residents a decrease of 4.60 per cent.
The chairman of the Strategy and Resources Committee, Cr. David Close opened the debate saying that 284 written submissions and 90 oral submissions were considered along with 1484 replies to questionnaires from residents. The budget procedure took three months.
Large increases in spending had been approved in recent months, he said. These included $2 million for the Central City Board, an operating budget for the Mayors Forum on the central city, a number of economic development initiatives, and improvements to the bus system.
"Some inescapable increases in expenditure, such as the 40 per cent increase in the price of bitumen, have been accommodated," Cr. Close said.
"Despite the increases in expenditure the projected rates increases is at the level projected in March and about 0.35 per cent below the projection in last years plan,"
The move to withdraw funds from the assessment of the Councils standards and outputs came late in the debate.
Earlier, Cr. Close said reductions included a $150,000 saving in ACC costs, and increased dividends of $2.8 million over the next three years from City Holdings and the Councils local government trading enterprise, City Care.
Capital expenditure was forecast to be higher over the next few years because of $40 million needed for the development of Jade Stadium, as well as other costs for a new art gallery and improved wastewater treatment, he said.
There would also be increased costs for a new regional landfill.
Cr. Close said: "I am sure the Council will wish to mitigate the increases. This should not be difficult to achieve, if, as is likely, the Council chooses to use a proportion of the proceeds from Orions sale of the gas network to reduce debt," he said.
Cr. Close gave notice of a motion to rescind the decision to cut funds to the review of Council activities. He said he would raise the matter at the next Council meeting.