Friday, July 19, 2024

$3.8 billion for Christchurch water and roads

A 10-year budget that invests $3.8 billion into Christchurch’s three waters network and roading and transport systems heeds residents’ calls to focus on getting the basics right, says Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel (pictured).

“The 2021-31 Long Term Plan that we adopted [yesterday] addresses the need for continued investment in our core infrastructure so that we build our resilience and prepare our communities and our city for the impacts of climate change,’’ said Mayor Dalziel.

“It is a forward looking budget that acknowledges that we need to work in partnership with our communities, iwi, mana whenua, other councils, and government agencies to achieve the best outcomes for our city.

“In this budget we have found ways to make savings, without compromising the progress we have made over the past 10 years towards making Christchurch a modern, resilient 21st century city.”

Mayor Dalziel says Council will save $27.3 million in operational costs in 2021/22, with permanent savings totalling $268 million over the period of the Long Term Plan.

“We could have made more drastic cuts, but we did not want to slow down our economic and social recovery, nor did we want to put our services and the condition of our assets at risk by drastic reductions in investment,’’ she said.

“We got strong public feedback during the consultation process that residents don’t want us to cut back on the levels of service we provide at facilities such as our libraries and we have listened to that.

“We have balanced the need to keep costs down for our ratepayers with the need to ensure that Christchurch continues to prosper and grow.’’

Included in the 10-year budget is:

  • An average residential rate rise of 4.65 per cent in the 2021-22 financial year, which equates to an extra $2.54 a week.
  • $2.35 billion for upgrading and protecting the Three Waters (water, wastewater and stormwater) network.
  • $1.45 billion for transport infrastructure, including $931 million for roads and footpaths.
  • $242.8m million for cycling projects.
  • A new excess water use targeted rate that will apply to households who use significantly more water than average.
  • A heritage targeted rate that will be used to help protect and preserve important heritage buildings such as the Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora and the Old Municipal Chambers.
  • Provision for the Council to sell a number of properties that it owns which are surplus to requirements.
  • An extra $13.5 million for climate change and environmental initiatives.

“There are no easy comparisons in local government given the disparate size of the 67 councils – we are second largest after Auckland – property values, environment, and infrastructure profiles. That being said, holding the average rates increase just below 5% has not been possible for several of our counterparts.”

“I’m pleased that we have been able to achieve this. It has not been easy but I think we have struck a good balance between finding savings and continuing to invest in the infrastructure, services, facilities and partnerships that will help Christchurch thrive and prosper,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.

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