All Council activities, services and projects will be under the microscope when councillors start looking at budgets for their latest Long Term Plan this week.
The 2015 – 2025 Long Term Plan will detail Council's proposed work programme and budget for the next 10 years and the strategic goals Council is looking to achieve over that period.
Over the three days of workshops (January 14, 15 and 16) councillors will be reviewing preliminary budgets and providing staff with a direction for the coming years.
The workshops are open to the public.
Among the key issues being looked at for the district are stockwater, roading, the civic administration building, stormwater, EA Networks Centre, a possible hydroslide attraction and of course, the rates for the coming 10 years.
Following the workshops Council staff will return with further refined budget options for councillors to consider after which a consultation plan is signed off by Council's auditors, Audit NZ. It will then made available in April for the community to provide feedback on.
Mayor Angus McKay says the Long Term Plan is a difficult balancing act between making quality investments for the community and keeping rates at a manageable level and this means some tough decisions are going to have to be made.
"While we don't have projects of the scale of the EA Networks Centre coming up, there are still some big ticket items like the civic administration building, potentially stockwater and stormwater and projects with high public interest like the hydroslide."
A big part of preparing the Long Term Plan is about prioritising projects and finding trade-offs to achieve a rate level councillors are comfortable with and which provides services and facilities that meet the district's growing needs and expectations, says Group Manger Business Support Paul Brake.
Council is required to produce a Long Term Plan every three years with the plan covering a 10 year period. The plan also details how Council measures performance and report on targets outlined in the plan.
Mr Brake says preparation of the Long Term Plan started in July last year when councillors met with staff to discuss key issues for the district and proposed work programmes.
Those early discussions informed the preparation of the preliminary budgets which councillors will be reviewing at the workshops.
Mr Brake says there is still a lot of work to be done both in the workshops and in the following months as councillors work with staff to prioritise projects and funding for community consultation in April.