The public consultation on Tauranga City Council's draft Annual Plan 2017/18 is now open. Submissions can be made until 5pm on Thursday 20 April 2017. Go to the Tauranga City Council website to participate. The Annual Plan process serves to update the work plans and budgets that we had set through the Long Term Plan (LTP). We bring any significant differences to the community for review and feedback. Significant differences to next year's budget are:
• a proposal to fund $4m towards an iconic Visitor Information Centre in Mount Maunganui to support the growth of the tourism sector in Tauranga,
• requests from the Papamoa and Mount Mainstreet organisations to increase their targeted rates, which are paid by commercial ratepayers in each area, and
• some differences in planned rates and debt levels, with our fast-paced growth requiring that we reprioritise investment and spend money sooner than planned. This means a proposed rates increase of 3.8% instead of the 3.5% agreed through the LTP, net debt at $462m instead of $427m and the debt to revenue ratio at 221% instead of 215%.
These proposals are set out in a Consultation Document available on the Tauranga City Council website, in the Council Service Centre (91 Willow Street) and in local libraries. We are also seeking feedback on some proposed changes to user fees, and to the draft Development Contributions Policy 2017/18. Supporting information and submission forms are available on Council's website and in service centres. Talk it over with Elected Members and staff Elected Members and staff will be at the Little Big Markets at Coronation Park (Mount Maunganui) on Saturday, 1 April (9am – 2pm). Come by to have a chat and have your say. Otherwise please contact Council with any questions on 07 577 7000. You can also contact Elected Members or leave them a voicemail on 07 985 6171.
• Public consultation: 20 March until 5pm 20 April 2017
• Submission hearings: 9-12 May 2017
• Council deliberations: 7-9 June 2017
• Adoption: 28 June 2017