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Millions saved: rates rise cut - Hamilton

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  • Millions saved: rates rise cut - Hamilton

    Millions saved: rates rise cut

    By NATALIE AKOORIE - Waikato Times Last updated 12:00 08/02/2010

    About $2.2 million has been slashed from Hamilton City Council's annual budget to pave the way for a lower-than-predicted rate rise.
    Rates were projected to increase 4.66 per cent in the 2010/11 financial year but instead the council has reined in spending to keep the rise to 3.85 per cent.
    Axed in the review was $100,000 of the council's $2.9 million events sponsorship fund, along with 28 full-time council jobs.
    These were vacant positions which the council disestablished to save more than $750,000.
    The rest of the savings were found through contracting out specialised roading and infrastructure design services, and by cutting back funding for some operational budgets and projects.
    The proposed cutbacks, set out in the council's 2010/11 draft annual plan, will be presented to councillors at a meeting next week.
    Deputy chief executive Blair Bowcott said tough decisions had been made to reduce the level of rate rise following a directive from Mayor Bob Simcock last year.
    Mr Bowcott said it was a reflection of "general economic times". Though staff had found savings of $2.2 million in the $189 million annual operating budget, Mr Bowcott said extra costs and reduced revenue in other areas dropped the actual total savings to $1.1 million.
    Those extra costs included $150,000 for new ACC levies, financial charges, and lost potential earnings of $565,000 from the Claudelands Events Centre.
    This was because councillors decided to delay the start of construction of the centre by five months to allow more public consultation on the controversial redevelopment.
    Despite this, Mr Bowcott pointed out, the $68.4 million development was otherwise on time and budget.
    No events were lost from the events sponsorship fund and no projects had been dropped from the annual plan.
    Instead one had been added – the $2.4 million CityHeart reconfiguration of the council's underground carpark in the central city.
    Other significant projects to be progressed during the next 12 months included Claudelands, a review of the district plan, further development of Wairere Dr, and upgrades to the water treatment station at Peacocke and the wastewater treatment plant at Pukete.
    Mr Simcock said the savings reflected a goal of achieving operational efficiency while ensuring the community continued to receive the same level of service from council.
    "There has been very close scrutiny of spending across all areas of council, to achieve these savings to pass on to ratepayers."
    The catalyst for the review had been "recent tough economic times", and not looming local government elections in October, when Mr Simcock will seek re-election as mayor.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times...rates-rise-cut
    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx

  • #2
    If only I had as much faith in the Auckland City Council to do the same thing, alas I do not, John "I talk a lot but never bother doing what I say" Banks and his cronies will find a way to massivly increase their spending no doubt.

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    • #3
      The residents of Hamilton shouldn't relax. In amongst the clip is a $68.4 million events centre - which is still on track.

      Besides councils can't help themselves - put it off this year and bite the bullet next year.

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