Almost 1000 submissions were received from the Papakura local board area on Auckland Council’s proposed annual budget, which also addressed board priorities.
The feedback identified environmental restoration – including pest control and protecting waterways, community climate action and sustainability, youth programmes and arts and culture facilities as the top priorities.
Board chair Brent Catchpole says there were 41,147 submissions city-wide, 934 of them from Papakura, with 74 per cent of respondents supporting all or most board priorities.
“It’s positive to see support for the direction the board wants to go in, and heartening to see backing for our environment, young people and our arts and culture sector.
“The information will help shape our agreement with the governing body – which we have to renew every year so that it sets out how the council will reflect our communities’ priorities.”
With the council’s proposed response to budget pressures calling for an $865,000 reduction in operating spend, Catchpole says members are armed with a message about where the community expects the focus to be.
“Our people do not want youth programmes decimated. They value our young people as the community’s future. We need to acknowledge the work done by Papakura Youth Council to ensure rangatahi voices have been heard.
“It’s equally clear our people expect us to not just stand for the environment, but to improve it. There are concerns that we could lose the gains already made.”
While the message that libraries and the arts sector were also seen as valuable contributors to community well-being, Catchpole says the board understands the calls for prudent spending.
“On regional issues, our people have been emphatic that they do not want public transport services declining. Those supporting the cuts proposed largely argue we cannot keep spending beyond our means and that cutting the budget is necessary. But there were more calling for increased public transport, saying moving around is a problem, and that we should be helping Auckland Transport return services to previous levels.”
Papakura was divided on selling airport shares with similar numbers for and against, and in support of a partial sale.
That was also true around rates, with 168 submissions supporting the proposal for a 4.66 per cent increase, and 169 - just one more, preferring a lower rate.
The proposal to budget $20 million a year to improve future storm responses was supported.
The board will approve its agreement in June and its work programmes in July. Budget feedback will be provided before the governing body sets the budget next month.
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