The Long Term Plan 2024–2034 (LTP) is set to be adopted on 14 February, and will go out for public feedback on 1 March.
“The LTP is reviewed every three years and outlines the Council’s activities, services, capital programme and finances for the next decade – and how the Council will pay for it by setting rates and managing its finances,” says Mayor Phil Mauger.
“We’ve committed to having most of these briefings and discussions in public throughout this whole process, which can give our residents an insight into the balancing act involved in developing these budgets.”
Councillors met today (Tuesday 23 January) to discuss the development of the LTP so far.
The proposed rates increase is currently at 15.86%, and is subject to change depending on what further tweaks Councillors make to the draft LTP.
The change in proposed rates increase from what was signalled at the end of last year mostly reflects a reduction in dividend from Christchurch City Holdings Limited (CCHL). The LTP process initially considered a range of scenarios for the dividend. However, the Council decision in December not to progress a business case to give CCHL a more flexible mandate now means the dividend projections are at the lower end of what was forecasted. This has had a 3.54% impact on the rates increase.
Councillors were also briefed on the Financial Strategy, which outlines the Council’s cost-effective approach to funding its services, facilities and assets over the next 10 years.
“We have a number of financial tools at our disposal, and the Financial Strategy explains how we’ll use them – it’s a mix of rates, fees and charges, government subsidies and debt, and is tailored to meet our community’s needs as affordably as possible,” Mayor Mauger says.
“The Financial Strategy shows our prudent approach to managing debt and balancing our budget. We know that rates are an increasingly costly part of a household’s budget, so we’re continuing to look for options to keep our increases as low as we can, while maintaining the services our residents expect.”
Councillors also considered the process and criteria for the disposal of Council-owned properties, the majority of which are in the Port Hills residential red zone.