These are just some of the questions Wellington City Council wants views on before final decisions are made on the city's draft long-term plan in June.
Consultation on the draft Long-Term Council Community Plan began today and Wellingtonians have until Monday 18 May to comment. The 10-year plan aims to keep rates affordable while ensuring the city retains its competitive edge.
The draft plan is important because it determines what the Council will do over the next three years and provides a guide for the next seven. It contains information on everything the Council is responsible for, explaining what we do and why we do it.
The approach the Council has taken will keep the 2009/10 rates around the level of inflation, help ensure the city doesn't lose momentum and maintain infrastructure and most services at current levels.
The work and proposals outlined in the draft plan would result in an average real rates increase of 2.38 percent for the coming financial year. However the increase for individual property owners will vary.
Mayor Kerry Prendergast says ensuring Wellington remains vibrant, internationally competitive and affordable is essential and will help the city weather challenging times.
"Council operations and budgets have been extensively reviewed over the past year to help reduce costs but continued prudent investment is crucial so we are in the best possible position when the economy picks up again," she says.
"We know that to be internationally competitive a city must offer a high quality of life. That means continuing to invest in the things that make Wellington special including attractions like Te Papa and events like the World of WearableArt and the Sevens which bring huge numbers of visitors to the city and help support our hotels, restaurants, bars and shops."
The Council encouraged people to get involved early and help shape the draft plan. Views provided over the past few months have influenced decisions made so far. For instance, a proposed reduction in library opening hours and reduction in the budget for books have been dropped.
As well as continuing to provide the hundreds of services required to keep the city running, the Council is proposing to invest in a number of areas including putting artificial turf on more of the city's sportsfields, building an indoor community sports centre and improving the bus lane network. To keep rates affordable, modest cuts to some services and some increases in user fees and charge are also proposed.
The Council sets user fees and charges to cover a proportion of the cost of operating some services. This is to help ensure that those who directly benefit from services pay an appropriate proportion of increasing costs.
Draft plans, submission forms and more information about the plan are available from libraries, online at the Have Your Say / Public Input part of the website or by phoning (04) 499 4444. Feedback is required by 5.00pm, Monday 18 May and can be made online. A number public meetings and ward clinics are planned - full details of these are available on the Meetings web page.