Average 3.67% Rates Rise Proposed

20 June 2011

Wellington City Council's Strategy and Policy Committee today recommended an annual plan that will not increase parking fees and leaves the Central Library's opening hours virtually unchanged.

If approved at next week's full Council meeting, the average rates increase will be 3.607 percent. While the final household and commercial figures are yet to be finalised they are likely to be around 5 percent and 2 percent respectively.

Councillors voted against a proposed $650,000 study on the construction and design of a proposed new swimming pool complex at Kilbirnie. They also voted unanimously against increasing parking fees and extending paid parking in the central business district to weeknight evenings.

The committee voted to keep the Central Library open till 8.30pm on weeknights - rejecting a proposal to close at 7.00pm to save money. Councillors however did decide to propose closing the library earlier on Friday nights - at 8.30pm instead of 9.00pm.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says Councillors have managed to keep rates as low as possible in the face of significant budget pressures including the Council's leaky homes liability, rising insurance costs, significant inflation of costs of materials including oil-based products and fuel, interest and depreciation costs on Council assets.

"We received 780 submissions during the consultation process and we have listened," says Mayor Wade-Brown.

"We set out in March to deliver an annual plan that is balanced - one that plans for the future, strengthens the city's infrastructure and delivers affordable rates, and I believe we will achieve that next Wednesday (29 June).

"Despite the difficult economic times, the level of investment in the plan that goes to Council next week will ensure Wellington remains a great place to live, learn, work and play."

Councillors agreed today to a number of late spending items, including $850,000 to resurface the number-two artificial turf at the National Hockey Stadium in the coming year, an extra $250,000 for cycling and walking paths, $145,000 to upgrade Newlands Town Centre and $45,000 to extend support of the NZ Academy of Sport.