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Budget looks to the future

Being able to keep the rate increase very low and assist with a wide range of projects across the district though this year’s annual plan is a great outcome, says mayor Lawrence Yule.

Hastings District Council this week went through the budget for the coming 12 months. The result was very pleasing, Mr Yule said.

“As well as budgeting for all the things we normally do – roads, water and sewage systems, footpaths and things, we have been able to put money towards projects that will make very real differences to our people. They are projects that are important to our residents; their enjoyment of their district and their future.”

Subject to confirmation at the full council meeting on June 30, the rate increase this year will be set at an average 2.8 per cent.

One of the biggest announcements is that Council is officially putting its full backing behind the $10 million sports hub proposed by Sir Graeme Avery. The vision is for a world class facility which includes indoor sprint track and pole vault dome, high-performance gym, sports hall, sports medicine centre and café – all on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park.

A $1.75m allowance already in the long term budget for a main facility on the sports park has been brought forward to put into the project, and $250,000 added to it to bring the investment up to $2m.

Next year Council will consult with the public on whether to put another $2m into the project.

Keeping Hastings most popular spots in top condition is always a Council priority and this year toilets and rubbish bins will go in at Maraetotara Falls. The summer crowds at the awesome visitor attraction can exceed thousands over a summer weekend and it has become increasingly obvious that public toilets are necessary. Rubbish has also been a problem. It is not easy to install and maintain toilets in remote locations, however improving technology has made the option manageable.

Much smaller requests were fully considered and in the main approved. Amongst them was a request for a contribution towards Waitangi Day celebrations at Clive ($5000), fitness equipment in Anderson Park ($5000); shade cloth at William Nelson Park ($15,000) and a verandah over the stage in Flaxmere Park ($25,000).

Funds have been earmarked for the Horse of the Year Show but will not be confirmed until a review of the event underway now is completed. An allowance to help fund improvements at the A&P Showgrounds has also been provided for, however discussions with Hawke’s Bay A&P Society will be held to agree priorities before the money is confirmed.

“Both these amounts are provisional. In the case of Horse of the Year, a final decision will not be made until after we have the results of an independent review of the event, which is being undertaken now,” said Mr Yule.

“With the A&P Showgrounds, it will depend on agreeing a list of capital improvements which include items that will reduce costs for HOY.”

Some projects will be loan funded, some are able to be funded from existing budgets and some will be funded from rates.

4 October 2017

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