Thursday, July 18, 2024

Waikato council calls on communities to share 10-year plan views

Waikato Regional Council has opened for consultation on its 10-year plan, with the community being asked to share their views on five proposals.

The council has produced a consultation document that provides information on the proposals, options communities can choose between, rates implications and impacts on levels of service.

Council’s draft plan proposes an increase in rates revenue from current ratepayers of 6% in 2024/25, 8% in 2025/26 and 3% in 2026/27.

In the first year of the plan, that means an increase of less than $50 a year for more than 80% of ratepayers. However, those paying flood protection and catchment rates are likely to see larger increases, said Council Chair, Pamela Storey.

“In May, elected members will make decisions on the council’s work for the next 10 years and its impact on rates. Before we do, we want to hear the views of our communities, and the best way to do this is by making a submission,” said Chair Storey.

The five topics being consulted on are:

  • Increasing the natural heritage rate to empower more communities to improve biodiversity;
  • Collecting a region-wide public transport rate;
  • Discontinuing the Regional Development Fund, so funds and staff time can be redirected elsewhere;
  • Funding for Te Waka, the regional economic development agency;
  • Changes to the funding of the council’s rural compliance and support work.

Chair Storey said much of the council’s new work over the next three years is about “collecting the right information to help build the resilience of our regional environment into the future”.

This includes developing a water security management plan, reviewing how we fund critical infrastructure, furthering our understanding of this region’s natural hazard and climate risks to enable resilient decision making, and identifying actions to rehabilitate the degraded catchments of Lake Waikare and Whangamarino Wetland, she said.

To read the proposals and make a submission go to Consultation ends at 4pm on Thursday, 2 May.

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