Community & Environment

Hamilton’s Back on Track budget open for feedback

Hamiltonians are encouraged to share their voice on Hamilton City Council’s Draft Back on Track COVID-19 Response Budget.

The draft budget outlines planned projects and spending for the next 12 months in Hamilton and proposes how the Council will keep the city on track and support those Hamiltonians who need it the most.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said the Council is forecasting a $22 million drop in non-rates revenue and has pushed hard to find savings.

“We’ve prioritised essential infrastructure and have actively looked for projects that will create jobs. We know the actions we take over the next few months will have an enormous impact on how quickly Hamilton recovers,” she said.

“Ideally, we will know in the very near future whether or not Hamilton has been successful in securing government funding for shovel-ready projects to help stimulate the local economy. Without that certainty, it has been much harder to plan but that is the reality and is something we must simply work around.”

The city’s draft budget includes $7.3 million in savings and $1.1 million of support for ratepayers, businesses and community groups struggling with the effects of COVID-19.

The Council is also proposing to push back the start date of some major projects but will continue with nearly $300 million worth of projects which Mayor Southgate says is critical to getting Hamilton’s economy back on track.

Elected Members also voted to remove some projects and add a few new projects to the plan, including assisting community groups volunteering to improve gully areas and developing a Maaori strategy.

The proposed average annual rate increase remains at 3.8% as agreed with the community in the 2018-28 10-Year Plan. Sticking with this rate increase means the Council can keep their finances on track, including balancing its books (paying for everyday costs using everyday revenue) in 2022/23, just one year later than planned.

The draft plan, including the list of projects and deferrals and finances, can be viewed at hamilton.govt.nz/annualplan and is open for feedback until 10 July 2020.

You can view a hardcopy document in the 24 June edition of the Hamilton Press newspaper, or by picking up a copy from the Council building at 260 Anglesea Street or any Hamilton City Libraries branch.

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