From the Mayor

This newsletter is to thank all those people who took time recently to make a submission on our draft Long Term Plan (LTP) for 2012 – 2022 and to let you know what changed as a result of your feedback.

The LTP decides the budget for the projects, activities and services your Council provides for you for the next 10 years.

We had another tough budget to deliver. Difficult economic circumstances have continued since the 2009 global financial crisis. Insurance costs following the Christchurch earthquakes have increased along with infrastructure costs. We've also had to provide for leaky home settlements in this budget.

But we have managed to keep the average rate increase to 3.4% without compromising the experiences of living, working and raising a family in Porirua. Our city is a great place to call home and I'm proud to lead your council as we implement our 10-year plan for our city.

Mayor Nick Leggett

Changes to the Draft LTP

The Council received 235 submissions on its Draft Long Term Plan and after listening to your feedback, made the following changes.

  • retaining litter bins in parks, reserves and shopping centres ($7,500 per annum)
  • keeping current library services at Titahi Bay Library ($10,000 for year one)
  • providing $6000 in year one to fund additional Surf Lifesaving services at Titahi Bay beach
  • adding $40,000 per annum for the Porirua Partners Programme to source external revenue
  • increasing infrastructure investment for stormwater upgrades by $200,000 Draft LTPper annum
  • reinstating the Wi Neera to Onepoto walkway with $150,000 in the second year for the design/cost/consent stage of the project
  • retaining the Annual Residents Survey ($50,000)
  • and providing an extra $156,000 for increased insurance premiums for the first year of the LTP.

Other changes include support in principle for the Aotea College Te Manawa (performing arts) Redevelopment project and the concept of a writers walk in Porirua city centre have also been noted under the City Centre Revitalisation project. There's no specific budget for these works at so they will need to be considered in a future Long Term Plan or Annual Plan. Porirua City Council also decided not to contribute to the Wellington Regional Amenities Fund – a levy for events and activities defined as benefiting the region such as the Wellington Orchestra and New Zealand School of Drama. This fund would have cost $72,000 in year one and increasing costs from then on.

Those of you who took the time to make submissions will by now have received individual letters from the Council responding to the issues you raised. If you have not, please let us know by phoning 237 5089.

View the full Long Term Plan here

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City Priorities

The Council agreed four key priorities to take the city forward and 80% of submitters said they agreed. These are:

  • A city of villages – Connected and distinctive villages, able to have their respective spaces and characters shaped by the people who live in them.
  • A healthy and protected harbour – at the heart of our city of villages, providing recreational, economic and cultural opportunities, now and in the future.
  • A growing city – Prosperity, growth and better opportunities for all Porirua residents through city centre revitalization
  • A great city experience – Quality, affordable and efficient services at every point enabling residents, businesses and visitors to make the most of their city experience
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Investment in Infrastructure

The Council has assets of over $1 billion and the draft LTP proposed investing $126.75 million in capital works on the major strategic assets, water, wastewater, stormwater, and transport over the next 10 years. This represents a major investment to build or replace the city’s assets, crucial to the liveability of our city.

Major Projects

Infrastructure projects:

Water Services – $39.3 million. Significant increased investment in pipeline replacement has been made to improve the integrity of the network over time.

  • Wastewater - $16 million will be spent over the 10 years to renew deteriorating sewer mains and reduce infiltration of stormwater into the wastewater pipelines. As well, $6 million is budgeted over Years 2 and 3 for the rehabilitation of the Wastewater Cross Harbour Link from Paremata to Onepoto that will lessen the load on the City Centre network and provide an additional link.
  • Drinking Water - $11 million will be spent over the 10 years of the Plan for ongoing water pipe renewals.
  • Stormwater pipes - $6.3 million over 10 years will be spent to provide greater capacity at targeted points in the stormwater network to reduce flooding after heavy rainfall. This budget is double that of the previous LTP.

Road resurfacing – $11 million is budgeted across the 10 years of the Plan for renewing the city's roads on a 15 year cycle. This covers all local roads not including SH1 and SH58 and includes a mix of asphalt, cement and chipseal resurfacing.

Transmission Gully Motorway Link Roads – $35 million is budgeted from Year 5 for the construction of two link roads between the city and Transmission Gully.  Council has a budget assumption that 54% of the link road cost will be funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency. There is a peak in the Council's projected debt levels in later years of this Plan which will be used to fund these connection roads in Waitangirua and Whitby.

Development at the Landfill – $7.8 million is budgeted over the 10 years to provide additional capacity and to increase the life of the landfill. Reducing leachate and greenhouse gas emissions are included in this work.

Wi Neera to Onepoto Walkway – A report on the design/cost/consent stage will be completed in year 2 (2013/14) at an estimated cost of $150,000 with construction scheduled for year 4 (2015/16).

New infrastructure projects:

  • Duck Creek Pump Station – $2.9 million is budgeted in Year 5 to upgrade the existing wastewater pump station to provide additional storage and accommodate planned growth in the Whitby area. The additional storage will help prevent wastewater discharges in high rainfall events.
  • Pauatahanui Reticulation – $1.3 million is budgeted in Year 2 to provide water and sewer services to central village properties to protect the inlet environment. This is being considered to address current issues with on-site wastewater disposal.  A number of properties in the village were historically developed with basic on-site wastewater disposal systems that are not equipped to cope with all the demands of modern life. Some form of reticulation is needed to protect the sensitive natural environment in this area from wastewater discharges and in the interests of maintaining public health.  The engineering and funding options for a possible reticulation scheme will be considered by the Council before the end of June 2012.  The preferred option will then be discussed with residents.

Other major projects:

  • Strategic Land Purchase – $25.7 million over 10 years of the Plan provides the capacity for property investment to help achieve economic development or infrastructure objectives. $5 million of the budget will fund land purchased for the provision of the Transmission Gully Motorway Link Roads. This fund could also be used to purchase property required to implement the City Centre Revitalisation Plan. This budget is an estimate of what might be required, as the Council draws down loans for property purchases only if relevant sites become available. This budget could be diverted to fund infrastructure renewals in the future if this is a more prudent priority
  • City Centre Revitalisation – $19 million is budgeted for capital works across 10 years of the Plan to revitalise the City Centre and improve business and visitor growth in the city.  The project includes the attraction of private sector investment into the area. The future of the Council's administration building could assist in this project as a decision needs to be made within the next three years about whether to earthquake strengthen the building to enable the Council to provide post event support or to relocate to another building within the city.  Much of the Council's investment funds the construction of a through road from Cobham Court to Lyttleton Avenue.
  • Villages Programme – $5.6 million is budgeted across the 10 years of the Plan for ongoing village development. The award-winning Village Planning Programme is a groundbreaking partnership between Porirua City Council and its communities. It puts communities in charge of developing a vision for their neighbourhoods and then partnering with Council to make it happen.  The budget funds minor works in communities such as park improvements, walkways and traffic calming as well as operational projects such as local histories.
  • Porirua Harbour and Catchments – $2.3 million is budgeted across the 10 years to implement the Porirua Harbour Strategy including environmental work, education and monitoring. Porirua Harbour, comprising the Onepoto Arm and the Pauatahanui Inlet, is considered by Council and community as the centrepiece of the City. The Harbour is the largest estuary system in the lower North Island. As well as having a nationally significant wildlife area, the estuary has cultural, recreational, economic and other wildlife habitat values. The Porirua Harbour and Catchments Management Programme includes a schedule of coordinated and targeted action to restore the health of Porirua Harbour and its contributing streams, such as riparian planting, harbourside restoration and community education.

Significant projects removed from the LTP:

  • Porirua Performing Arts Theatre – The Council had budgeted $3 million in the previous LTP that would be a third of the cost of building this proposed theatre. Funding depended on other community partners contributing likewise. As the partners can no longer continue funding this project, the Council budget has also been removed.

Changes to Keep Costs Down

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Some reductions in service:

  • Fewer litter bins in parks and suburban areas – As a result of public consultation, a proposed cut to this budget was changed and $7500 was reinstated.
  • Libraries – from year 1 (July 2012), the Plimmerton branch library closes and all other libraries will remain open and retain current operating hours.
  • City Cleaning – reductions in cleaning at the Titahi Bay and Cannons Creek shopping centres to be consistent with all other suburban shopping centres.
  • Pataka – Major exhibitions will be reduced if non-rates funding like sponsorship is not found. Pataka staff will develop a strategy aimed to secure sponsorship for exhibitions.
  • Community Grants – the community grants pool has been reduced over five years from $245,000 to $195,000.
  • Community development services will be reduced such as community training and grant information and support.
  • Reduced financial support for some events – from Year 2 event organisers will need to pay for Council services provided by the Works Business Unit.

Getting more out of existing infrastructure: E.g.

  • Footpaths – footpaths in a marginal condition will have to be used for an additional year before repairs are made.
  • Roads – reduced expenditure in the short term on road maintenance.
  • Canopies – the maintenance cycle of the canopy structure will be extended on a short term basis.
  • Trash Palace and PolyPalace – a reduction in repairs at Trash Palace and Poly Palace from 2016.

Introducing more user pays:

To help manage costs, the Council has reviewed fees and charges across its services and will continue to do so on an annual basis. E.g.

  • Parking – expand paid parking options in the CBD.
  • Landfill fees – to increase by up to 19% (in parity with neighbouring landfills) and to cover Emission Trading Scheme charges and budget targets.
  • Libraries – increase charges for overdue books from 60 cents to $1 per item.
  • Sportsfields and Outdoor Courts – fees and charges will continue to be reviewed annually with an increased emphasis on user pays.
  • Boatshed and pole moorings – cost will increase as per annual fee reviews.
  • Aquatic Centre and Cannons Creek Pool – fees and charges will be reviewed every second year to keep in line with market drivers and inflation.
  • Commercial water charges – increased water charges to commercial premises.
  • Cemeteries and Crematorium – fees and charges will continue to be reviewed annually with an increased emphasis on user pays.

Non-strategic assets:

Council will continue to review whether or not city assets are returning the best value for residents. Reviews underway include Council's reserve holdings and a review of the ownership and management of Moana Court Pensioner Housing.

Rates Information

Rates are a property tax to fund local government activities. The amount of rates charged varies between properties because of differences in capital values and the difference in services provided for residential, rural and commercial properties. Property valuation changes, which the Council has not control over, also affect the rates paid. Prospective financial statements for the 10 year period that detail the rate funding requirement can be found in the full LTP in 'Funding Our Work' (Section 5).

Rates increase over 10 Years

The average ratepayer will see a 3.4% increase in rates in 2012/13 based on the final budget in the LTP. The annual increases in the average property rate-funding required across the 10 years from 2012/13 are shown below.

 2012/13 13/1414/1515/1616/1717/1818/1919/2020/2121/22
Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Rates Income ($million)1 46.29 48.12 49.75 52.03 54.32 56.60 58.86 61.21 63.66 66.20
Increase from previous year 4.2% 3.5% 3.4% 4.6% 4.4% 4.2% 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% 4.0%
Average effect on ratepayers 2 3.4% 3.0% 2.9% 3.6% 3.4% 3.2% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
1. These figures include inflation, but exclude GST
2. These figures take into account additional income from new properties in the city each year. Property growth in Years 1 is assumed to be 0.8%, and 0.5% in Years 2 & 3, moving up to 1.0% annually from Year 4.

Residential Properties – Rate increase* for 2012/13

Property Value ($)2011/12 Annual rates ($)2012/13 Annual rates ($)Annual increase from 2011/12 ($)% increaseRates per week ($)
$250,000 $1,856 $1,896 $41 2.19% $36
$350,000 $2,197 $2,252 $55 2.52% $43
$450,000 $2,538 $2,608 $70 2.77% $50
$550,000 $2,879 $2,964 $85 2.96% $57
$750,000 $3,561 $3,676 $115 3.22% $71
$1,000,000 $4,414 $4,566 $152 3.44% $88
* 1. Figures inclusive of general and targeted rates
* 2. Figures exclude rates assessed by Greater Wellington Regional Council

Rural Properties – Rate increase* for 2012/13

Property Value ($)2011/12 Annual rates ($)2012/13 Annual rates ($)Annual increase from 2011/12 ($)% increaseRates per week ($)
$250,000 $1,037 $1,083 $46 4.43% $21
$450,000 $1,515 $1,581 $67 4.40% $30
$550,000 $1,753 $1,830 $77 4.40% $35
$750,000 $2,231 $2,329 $98 4.39% $45
$1,000,000 $2,828 $2,952 $124 4.38% $57
* 1. Figures include Uniform Annual General Charge but exclude targeted rates
* 2. Figures exclude rates assessed by Greater Wellington Regional Council

Business Properties – Rate increase* for 2012/13

Property Value ($)2011/12 Annual rates ($)2012/13 Annual rates ($)Annual increase from 2011/12 ($)% increaseRates per week ($)
$250,000 $3,964 $4,101 $138 3.5% $79
$450,000 $6,351 $6,592 $241 3.8% $127
$550,000 $7,544 $7,838 $293 3.9% $151
$750,000 $9,932 $10,329 $397 4.0% $199
$1,000,000 $12,915 $13,442 $527 4.1% $259
* 1. Figures include Uniform Annual General Charge but exclude targeted rates.
* 2. Figures exclude rates assessed by Greater Wellington Regional Council
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408 July rates illustration COL B