Christchurch City Council is planning to invest nearly half a billion dollars in the city over the next financial year.
The Council today released its Draft Annual Plan for 2017–18, which will be discussed at a special Council meeting next Tuesday February 28. Public consultation will follow, with a final decision made by the end of June.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel says that while the proposed average rates increase (5.5 per cent) is slightly higher than forecast, it reflects the level of work being undertaken by the Council.
“Of the nearly half a billion dollars we’re proposing to invest in Christchurch next year, $270 million of that funding is already committed to major projects coming to fruition across facilities, water and transport.
“Typically, we would have less than $50 million committed as we move into a new financial year, so that gives a sense of the sheer number and scale of the projects under way around the city at the moment.”
The Council has reviewed and adjusted its capital works programme for 2017–18, allowing it to reduce borrowing by $120 million next year.
“With so many projects under way there is considerable momentum now in the city’s regeneration. We have reviewed priorities, budgets and timings very carefully, with a view to keeping that momentum going evenly across the city,” she said.
“In some cases funding for major projects has been adjusted. This means we are spending money only when we need to in a project’s timeline, allowing us to prioritise more pressing repairs and rebuilds in the communities that need them most.
“That doesn’t mean we’re doing any less, or that there will be delays to essential projects – it simply means some spending on long-term projects will happen in future years.”
Ms Dalziel says adjusting the capital works programme has also allowed the Council to keep the proposed average rates increase close to the 5 per cent forecast in last year’s Amended Long Term Plan.
"Keeping the average rates increase as low as possible has been a major priority. It’s vital we strike the best balance between affordability for ratepayers and the timely delivery of the city’s projects, and I think we have achieved that."
Public submissions on the Council’s Draft Annual Plan open March 20 and close April 28. After considering feedback and making changes, the Council will adopt a final version of the plan in late June.