13 June 2024

Council identifies $136m of deferrals to capital plans to bring rates down

The Hamilton City Council staff have identified $136 million of deferrals to Council’s capital programme in the first five years of the Long-Term Plan to bring the rates increases down.

Council’s draft Long-Term Plan budget proposed a rates increase of 19.9% in 2024/25, followed by four years of 15.5% increases.

The changes – following a directive  from Mayor Paula Southgate, improve Council’s debt-to-revenue position and enable the rates increase to be reduced to 19.2% in in 2024/25, and 14.5% in the subsequent four years.

Council staff have also proposed additional options that would bring the rates rise down further. The additional deferrals will be debated at next week’s Council meeting, and include among others, adopting a ‘maintenance only’ approach to transport projects for three years and cancelling the School Link project.

Additional annual savings of $12.5 million have been identified across both community-facing and enabling (back-office) functions.

Of these, nearly $8 million are proposed savings from staff and consultant budgets that would mean reductions in the services Council delivers to the community.

Mayor Southgate said, “We’ve heard that people across the community are hurting. There is no magic solution but we must do everything in our power to reduce the burden on residents, without undermining our core services or vital investment in our city, ” says Mayor Southgate.

The Councillors will also look at reinstating the funding for community groups that had been proposed to be reduced.

“Times are tough and we have heard overwhelmingly that community support and wellbeing is more crucial than ever,” said Southgate. “It hugely bothers me to take funding away from the community. These groups support those most in need and make our city fun and vibrant. I will be strongly advocating for the re-instatement of existing funding to the community sector, whilst finding savings elsewhere.”

The full list of services up for reduction is available here.

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