Libraries and cemeteries key areas at 10-Year Plan meeting

Press Release – Hamilton City Council

Savings and revenue proposals across Hamilton’s libraries, cemeteries and crematorium, and funding for Maori and Pacific projects are under the spotlight at this week’s Council meeting as it builds towards a draft 10-Year Plan to consult on. The meeting … Libraries and cemeteries key areas at 10-Year Plan meeting

Monday, 17 October 2011

Savings and revenue proposals across Hamilton’s libraries, cemeteries and crematorium, and funding for Maori and Pacific projects are under the spotlight at this week’s Council meeting as it builds towards a draft 10-Year Plan to consult on.

The meeting on Thursday 20 October, is the sixth being held over September and October reviewing the entire business of Council as part of its drive to make operational savings of $14.5 million and stabilise the city’s debt and rates.

A range of recommendations from staff will be considered, the decisions from which will feed into the draft 2012-22 Plan, to be considered by the public from March, with the final Plan going live from July next year.

Two options which would see Libraries make savings of $310,000 or $635,000 through reduced opening hours are up for consideration. This would see consistency of opening hours across the city’s six libraries, which are presently open for 303.5 hours each week. Reducing the book collections budget by $500,000 to $1million, and discontinuing a currently vacant position relating to tangata whenua services and collections is also proposed.

Increased revenue opportunities for Libraries propose raising overdue and reservation fees for adult books, and introducing a $2 per book borrowing fee for adult fiction. Fees and charges for children’s lending would remain unchanged.

New revenue of $145,000 is proposed from the city’s cemeteries and crematorium through increasing all fees and charges, including for cremation ($55 increase) and burial (5% increase). These would see costs of these services provided without a rates subsidy.

The $80,000 annual Maori and Pacific Project Fund is also proposed to end, with this proposal in line with Council’s earlier in principle decision to end contestable community funds in the community development area.

An extra $6,000 to extend the recording and broadcasting of Council meetings to encourage greater involvement in Council business is also proposed.

Council Chief Executive Barry Harris says: “Further challenging in principle decisions in these areas present Council with some tough calls. I have no doubt these staff recommendations, and particularly in the area of Libraries, will see some rigorous debate at this week’s meeting.”

ENDS

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