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Lower Hutt residents to have their say on the next steps for the city

Hutt City Council has today agreed to release its draft Long-Term Plan 2024-34 for consultation which sets out proposed investment priorities and activities over the coming decade.

Elected members met on 27 March to approve the draft, clearing the way for the public to provide feedback for a month from 2 April to 3 May 2024. The feedback will then be considered as part of the process to adopt the new LTP, which takes effect from 1 July 2024.

The plan prioritises investing $1.6 billion over 10 years to safeguard our city’s water network and to provide effective stormwater and wastewater systems. It also includes an extra $2.8 million to fund an immediate crackdown to eliminate the current backlog of water leaks in Lower Hutt.

For every $100 collected in rates, around $60 will be spent on water and transport infrastructure. This, alongside the pressures of inflation, insurance increases and other unavoidable cost increases means Hutt City Council will be consulting on higher levels of rate increases and borrowing.

The draft plan proposes a rates increase of $10.82 per week on the average residential property valued at $815,000, or a 16.9% increase (after growth) for the year starting 1 July 2024.

We’ve had to make some difficult calls and after rigorous work have made $35M in savings across the board. We’ve also had to ensure we’re prioritising investment needed to bring critical roading and water infrastructure up to scratch.

Mayor Campbell Barry says the LTP is about taking the next steps towards a thriving, resilient city.

“Putting together the draft LTP was a challenging process. We had to be mindful of the overall economic environment and cost of living pressures while balancing investment in key initiatives against financial responsibility and rates affordability.

“While our proposed rates increase is higher than anyone would want, we aren’t willing to kick the can down the road on crucial infrastructure. That would only cost us more in the long term.

“We look forward to hearing what the public has to say through the submission process.”

An independent report by Infometrics Chief Executive Brad Olsen shows that councils across New Zealand are facing significant financial pressures.

“Hutt City Council is not alone when it comes to unavoidable cost pressures. Councils are having to pay more just to get the same infrastructure and services as a few years ago and not fall behind.

“There’s critical infrastructure to be built and it’s costing a lot more than before. The trade-off of lower rates and debt increases would be to stop investment in infrastructure and the services for communities,” Mr Olsen says.

Key proposals we want to hear from the public about are:

-How much to invest in water services

-Whether to proceed with our food and green organics (FOGO) initiative

-Whether to provide extra financial assistance to help low-income families pay their rates

-How to prioritise investment in Petone.

You can find the draft LTP here from 2 April 2024.

 

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