The development of Auckland Council’s new annual plan began on 21 October with the first in a series of councillor workshops to discuss the council’s 2016/17 budget, marking a change in the way the process is run.
Every New Zealand council is required each year to set its budget, and while the Long-term Plan 2015-2025 sets clear objectives for regional investment, debt and rates for 10 years, the annual plan is an opportunity for council to drill into the detail on a year-by-year basis.
Councillor Penny Webster, chair of the council’s Finance and Performance committee, says that while the council’s finances are in good shape, determining the annual plan will ensure that Auckland Council is responding effectively to the region’s growth challenges.
“The annual plan sets the budget, rate levels and planned investment for the 2016/17 year,” she says.
“The process is different from previous annual plans, as councillors will have more opportunity to input upfront into the Mayor’s proposals.
“We know that we have to be able to respond to the needs of a growing population, and ensuring that the budget reflects that is a crucial step in the process.
“Workshops began from 21 October, providing councillors with the opportunity to discuss the budget and related implications. They will also discuss issues that could be consulted on.
“These workshop sessions will then feed into the mayor’s proposal in December.”
Aucklanders will be consulted on any major changes to the budget during February and March, with the final budget to be set in June 2016.