Have your say on council's draft plan

JAMES IRELAND
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2013

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Rates increases, dog registration fee rises, a multi-million dollar land sale as well as increasing debt by nearly $1 billion are all part of Auckland Council's Draft Annual Plan which has now gone out for public consultation.

An overall rates increase of 2.9 per cent has been proposed alongside a reduction in the rates decrease available.

Last year those who saw their rates go down could get up to a 5 per cent decrease but this year that will be reduced to 2.5 per cent.

Over the 2013/2014 financial year the council, including council-controlled organisations such as Watercare, will increase its debt level from the current $5.74 billion up to $6.7b.

Whau Local Board chairman Derek Battersby says the council is in a tough position when deciding to get into more debt.

"If you don't borrow then you have to reduce spending and for a growing city like Auckland that could mean we have to get rid of some of the projects that will help us move forward," Mr Battersby says.

"As long as the bean-counters can keep everything together and we work towards paying it off we should be fine," he says.

Waitakere hairdressers could be in for a significant drop in fees if their licence fee drops from the current $301 down to a regionwide fee of $207.

Dog owners throughout Auckland may have to fork out an extra $800,000 this year. The standard fee for a dog licence is proposed to go from $107 to $121 for the 2013/2014 year and then to $134 for the 2014/2015 year.

Those paying for a responsible dog owner licence with a desexed dog could have to pay $55 this year and $60 next year, up from the current $49.

The council is looking to standardise and increase the amount of the cost recovered for food premise licence fees up from the current 63 per cent to 90 per cent spread over five years.

This move would save $330,000 in the first year and $2 million a year after five years.

Green waste fees for the Waitakere Transfer Station could be increased from $87.80 per tonne to $95 per tonne, saving ratepayers $36,000 a year.

The council is planning on selling a piece of land in Manukau valued at $20m to $30m. The net proceeds from this will go towards funding the $59m white water rafting and kayak course which the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust wants to build.

An extra $598,000 is scheduled to be spent on parks which includes $388,000 for volcanic cone restoration.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development would be given an additional $307,000 to fund events and community groups.

To further international trade missions an extra $102,000 per year has been budgeted.

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An information evening with the West Auckland local boards will be held on February 13 at 6pm in the Civic Building, 6 Henderson Valley Rd.

To make a submission you can either fill out the form that arrived in letterboxes last week or go to aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/haveyoursay to fill out the feedback form online.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

- Rates increases

- Dog registration fees go up

- $1 billion of increased borrowing

- Land sales to help fund white water rafting facility

- More expensive rubbish dumping 

- Western Leader

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