Our draft budgets have been prepared on the basis that we maintain the levels of service across the activities and services the Council currently provides. This means that as a resident, you can still expect to see the parks mowed, gardens maintained, rubbish and recycling collected, to the same level as what you currently experience.
However, if the community tells us that the rate increase is simply too great, we could reduce the levels of service to save money. This may impact on the service you receive, depending on how and where these savings are made.
One recent example of this is our current review of opening hours at the EA Networks Centre. Measures like this may only have a small effect on the average rate increase but add up when applied across all Council services.
Our forestry reserve currently has a balance of $5.1 million. This has been built up over time from the sale of forestry and some forestry land. As we worked through our draft budgets, we felt keenly the desire of the community to improve the quality of our roads. As such, we have drafted this budget with the inclusion of $1.7 million from our forestry reserve to bring forward our major roading repair programme.
To clarify, this means repairing key roads to a standard that helps minimise future maintenance, and not having to fill in the same potholes over and over again. In short, it will extend the life of the road. While it is unusual to allocate forestry reserve money to bring forward the major repair programme for our roading network, we felt the time is right to dip into this fund for this purpose. The forestry reserve will be left with a balance of $3.4 million.