Tauranga City elected members have completed deliberations on the proposals for next year’s budget. Deliberations deliver the Annual Plan 2017/18 within proposed rates increases and lower debt than in the draft budget.
The final Annual Plan, to be formally adopted on 28 June 2017, provides increased capital and operational budget to cater for our city’s fast-paced growth, which has increased from the Long Term Plan forecast of 1.7% to 3.1% for 2017/18.
Council confirmed the funding for a new Papamoa Community Surf Rescue Base ($950,000 contribution), floodlighting at Bay Oval regional cricket ground ($765,000 contribution) and third hockey turf at Blake Park ($600,000 contribution). Council also adopted the recommendation to increase Mainstreet targeted rates on commercial properties in Papamoa and Mount Maunganui as proposed through the draft Annual Plan.
Elected members allocated additional funding to a range of projects and services such as increased library stock, public toilets and walkways – including $30,000 towards the investigation into a walkway between Memorial Park and the city centre. They provided a grant of $300,000 over two years for the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service to further upgrade their facilities, an additional $100,000 for the Omokoroa to Tauranga Cycle Trail and a grant of $75,000 per year over three years to Bay of Plenty Film to help establish a Regional Film Office – along with other smaller contributions to community organisations and groups.
Council decided to allocate $175,000 to advance a trial of a one-way road system and cycleway in Mount North, to better connect workplaces, schools, harbour and beaches – and help address parking issues. Also of note is the decision to bring forward $100,000 for detailed design and investigation work on the Turret / 15th Avenue corridor.
Finally Council decided to reduce the funding towards a new Visitor Information Centre from the proposed $4m to $2.5m in the 2017/18 Annual Plan.
The 2017/18 budget as it stands after deliberations, and subject to final reconciliation, translates to a 3.8% average rates increases, consistent with the draft Annual Plan, and net debt at $442m, $20m lower than the draft Annual Plan. Lower debt levels are mainly the result of a downward revision of Council’s opening debt position, in part due to increased Development Contributions revenue.
The final Annual Plan, Development Contributions Policy, and user fees for 2017/18 are scheduled to be adopted on 28 June 2017.