The Council's pools are in high demand
After receiving 789 submissions from Wellingtonians, City Councillors have finalised an annual plan for the coming financial year that strengthens Wellington's infrastructure and delivers affordable rates.
Rates on average will increase 3.74 percent. Residential rates will increase an average 4.3 percent while the impact on the city's commercial sector will be 1.1 percent.
City Councillors have committed an extra $250,000 for cycling and walking paths which means - subject to New Zealand Transport Agency matching the funding - that we intend to double our investment in cycling and walking paths in the coming year from $500,000 to $1 million.
Other new spending items include:
$850,000 for resurfacing the number two artificial turf at the National Hockey Stadium
$150,000 to undertake an initial concept design and user analysis for a new deep-water pool at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre
$145,000 to upgrade Newlands Town Centre
$45,000 to support of the NZ Academy of Sport.
Councillors also abandoned a proposal to increase parking fees and extend paid parking in the central city to weeknight evenings.
They also agreed to keep the Central Library open till 8.30pm on weeknights - rejecting a proposal to close at 7.00pm to save money. Councillors did, however, agree to close the library earlier on Friday nights - at 8.30pm instead of 9.00pm.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the plan delivers affordable rates while still allowing the city to navigate tough times and strengthen its infrastructure.
She says the Council has kept rates low 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.
"While these are difficult economic times, it is important that we continue to invest in our city so it remains a great place to live, learn, work and play - and we've done that," says the Mayor.
"We've had to make some choices - with changes to some services and modest increases in fees for others.
"This year's plan was always going to be a balance between service delivery and continuing to invest in core infrastructure.
Overall we've managed to maintain the services and experiences that a modern capital should offer, while continuing to invest in core infrastructure, especially in areas that will make our city more earthquake resilient.
"We are spending $22 million on upgrading the city's water, stormwater and wastewater network, including building new quake-resilient reservoirs in Karori and Mount Cook. It's important we improve the resilience of our network so that we are better prepared to cope with and recover from a significant earthquake.
"I'd like to thank all of the 789 Wellingtonians who made a written or oral submission. Without doubt the feedback we received influenced our decisions."
The income the Council receives from general rates and user charges pays for day-to-day operations and services and maintaining the Council's $6 billion worth of assets.
In the coming year the Council will spend $368 million providing everyday services like waste management and recycling, running our libraries, swimming pools, sportsfields, recreation and community centres, caring for the Town Belt, public housing and contributing to the running of Wellington Zoo and the Museum of Wellington City and Sea.