Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says that at its core, the proposed ten year plan is about getting the basics right for the people of Lower Hutt. The plan is aptly titled E whakatika ana i ngā mea matua - Getting the basics right.
"Our city is experiencing high levels of population growth, which is putting significant pressure on our ageing infrastructure. It’s critical we front up to these challenges and invest in the infrastructure that will ensure we build strong foundations for our city’s future," Mayor Campbell Barry says.
"The ten year budget proposes to more than double the amount of money we are planning to invest in key infrastructure. This includes investment of $582 million over ten years for our Three Waters network and $353 million for transport projects."
"It will take some time and significant effort to fully turn the tide on decades of underinvestment in our core infrastructure - however this is not a challenge our Council will shy away from."
Mayor Barry says the proposed 10 year plan also includes provision to deliver on key Council commitments, including important community infrastructure like Naenae Pool.
"We have committed to rebuilding Naenae Pool, and our proposed plan asks residents to endorse a proposed investment of up to $68 million to get the job done. We are fortunate to be able to ease the burden on ratepayers, with $27 million of that funding coming directly from central government.
As well as addressing the infrastructure challenges in Lower Hutt, the ten year plan recognises the impact COVID-19 has had on our communities. Affordability for local ratepayers is front of mind, and the ten year plan will focus on delivering a balanced budget over the next decade.
To achieve this, Council is making sure that borrowing levels are sustainable during this period, and ensuring rating levels are fair for our ratepayers. Council is therefore proposing a 5.9 per cent rates revenue increase for 2021-2022. This is an increase of $2.50 per week in 2021/22 for the average residential household.
"We know times are uncertain due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19. This is why affordability is front of mind, and why we have made significant internal savings of $5.2 million, per year, before proposing this increase in rates."
"However, now is not the time to wind down investment and run the risk that our infrastructure will reach a crisis point and fail."
Consultation on the proposed 10 year plan will open on Tuesday 6 April and run through until Thursday 6 May. Mayor Barry says the proposed 10 year plan is subject to consultation with the community, and encourages every Lower Hutt resident to have their say.
"As Mayor, I’m committed to having an upfront and honest conversation with the community about the challenges we face, and what it will require to tackle them. I’m clear that this plan is the community’s plan, which makes feedback and consultation crucial to getting it right," Campbell Barry said.
More information can be found at hutt.city/10yearplan.