City councillors are today expected to make their decisions on whether to proceed with the proposed new city centre library - the day after committing the council to an unbudgeted and unknown figure to buy out 21 Bella Vista Homes owners.
Mayor Greg Brownless says it’s too early to tell where the funding will come from.
Speaking shortly before continuing the Long Term Plan deliberation process this morning, Greg says they haven’t worked out the funding yet.
He says they’re more concerned with looking after the residents.
“Where the money comes from, we are definitely working on it. But I think it is premature to say it’s definitely going to affect any projects we are doing.”
The library is included in two versions of financial spreadsheets presented to councillors this morning by chief financial officer Pal Davidson. One is $35m for a library, the other is $25m for a library.
Councillors were this morning looking to trim another $1.1m from the budget, to look at a mean residential rate increase of 3.8 per cent – plus the glass recycling.
One way he’s suggesting bringing the overall budget down is by ceasing depreciation funding on the historic village, and marine facilities – wharves, jetties, and sea walls; but excluding the marine precinct.
When the marine facilities were re-valued four or five years ago there was a particular increase in the value of sea walls, says Paul. That has lifted sea wall depreciation costs.
He’s suggesting the council delay rate funding the depreciation for a year while they look at the best way of funding the marine activities to make them sustainable long term. This could include boat ramp fees, says Paul.
“We have got some surpluses in activities like the airport and parking activities.”
Both options still anticipate city debt growing from $330 million in the current financial year, to $1.05billion in 2027/28, year ten of the plan.
Over the same period the city council’s operating revenue is expected to grow from the current $210.3 million to $440m.
The rates requirement including from water meters, is similarly expected to grow from $153m for the 2017/18 year to $341m in year ten of the proposed plan.
The base scenario with the $25m library presented before decision making today envisages core rates increases of 6.8 per cent, 6.5 per cent and 7.7 per cent over the next three years.
The decision to introduce a commercial differential means the mean residential rate will be less than the core increases.