This is my first annual plan as Chief Executive of the Wellington City Council. I have been impressed by the efforts of staff to reduce the Council’s overall expenditure in 2013/14 by over $14 million dollars. This has been achieved through a range of actions, including the use of new technology to reduce our costs and increase our productivity; something that we will be doing more and more of in the future.
Such actions have enabled us to deliver an average rates rise of 2.5 percent, one of the lowest in the country. Since many of the reductions will flow through to future years, we are on track to deliver even lower rates rises in the future. In doing so, we are still managing to invest in priority projects such as the earthquake strengthening of Council buildings, initial work on a number of urban design projects, as well as a range of Smart Energy projects. These latter projects received strong support from the public, a clear demonstration of how Wellingtonians care about sustainability and the environment.
These projects will also be delivered in partnership, with at least matching funding coming from central government agencies or the private sector. We intend to emulate this partnership approach with economic development projects in the coming year. To enable this we have taken a number of steps, which include:
We will also commit ourselves to being more open to and supportive of all businesses in the city. We recognise that when businesses succeed, the whole city wins through more jobs and growth, which in turn will enable us, as your Council, to invest more in the community infrastructure of the city.
I am excited by the year ahead. Since arriving here, I have met numerous people who are proud to call Wellington home and are committed to investing in its future. We are too and look forward to working with you to achieve our Wellington Towards 2040: Smart Capital vision.