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Earthquake strengthening of the Hutt City Council’s Civic buildings in Laings Road by 2015 is a key priority for council, says Mayor Ray Wallace.
“There is no room for complacency,” he said. “We have got to move now and strengthen the building as quickly as possible.”
Funding provided by the council’s community planning committee will enable plans to be prepared for consideration by an independent consenting authority later in the year.
“Our building must be strong enough to save lives in the event of a major earthquake and provide a viable base to establish a command centre for recovery operations in the aftermath.
Budget recommendations point to a tight operating plan with the draft budget showing little change to the level of rates required to fund operating costs for the council.
“We are among the most cost conscious local authorities in New Zealand and our forecast rate increase is likely to be less than two per cent.
“This demonstrates our determination to ensure ratepayers are being looked after and increases kept to a minimum,” he said.
“We are also keen to inject vibrancy into our business precinct and the new plan includes provision for a stimulus package funded from savings in the council’s operating budgets.
“Our Chief Executive Tony Stallinger is preparing a list of possible savings to generate the $1.2 million in savings we consider will be necessary to encourage businesses to set up here in the Hutt,” the Mayor said.
“Council is also committed to improving infrastructure across the city and we have allocated $450 million in capital spending on infrastructure over the next 10 years. This is a significant investment in our future as a city,” he said.
The draft plan will now be consulted with the community.