One noteworthy aspect of this year’s LTP is the Council’s commitment to transparency. Mayor Phil Mauger emphasises that most of the briefings and discussions have been open to the public throughout the process. This approach allows residents to gain insight into the intricate balancing act of developing these budgets, ensuring that the community’s voices are heard.
Proposed Rates Increase:
One of the most significant elements of the LTP is the proposed rates increase, which currently stands at 15.86%. However, it’s important to note that this figure is subject to change as Councillors make further adjustments to the draft plan. The initial increase largely results from a reduction in dividend from Christchurch City Holdings Limited (CCHL), which had been considered at a higher level initially. This reduction has contributed to a 3.54% impact on the rates increase.
The Financial Strategy plays a vital role in the LTP. It outlines how the Council plans to fund its services, facilities, and assets over the next decade. This strategy utilises a mix of financial tools, including rates, fees, charges, government subsidies, and debt, all tailored to meet the community’s needs as cost-effectively as possible. Mayor Mauger stresses the importance of balancing the budget while keeping rate increases in check to minimise the financial burden on households.
In addition to budgetary considerations, the Council is also addressing the process and criteria for the disposal of Council-owned properties, particularly those in the Port Hills residential red zone. This is an essential part of the LTP, as it impacts the future development and use of these properties within the community.