The Waikato District Council is consulting on its 2021-31 Long Term Plan and seeking submissions until early May.
The plan, which is reviewed and updated every three years, asks three key questions: what general rate increase option ratepayers prefer, should the council sell its pensioner housing and should it continue the inorganic kerbside rubbish collection service.
At the same time, the council is seeking feedback on the way it hands out funding, charges user fees and other charges, and handles its development contributions policy. It is also seeking views on the community hall catchment review.
The council proposes a “hard and fast” general rate increase in year 1 of 9% and then 3.5% for year 2 and 3 of the plan. Another option sets the general rate increase at 7% in year 1, 6% in year 2 and 4% in year 3.
The inorganic kerbside rubbish collection service has been popular in the Waikato district for a long time, but it is becoming harder and harder to deliver, not just because of rising costs in this area.
The council has 34 pensioner flats in Tuakau, Huntly and Ngaruawahia. It proposes selling them to a dedicated social housing provider.
Waikato district Mayor Allan Sanson said the council needed to balance what it can deliver with what was affordable in terms of rates and debt.
“As a fast growth area, this balancing act will prove to be a huge challenge for us all in the coming years. We need to keep up with this growth, while making sure our community is a desirable place to live, work and play.
“As we worked through preparing for the next 10 years, we knew we were looking down the barrel of rising costs in the three waters area. This is mostly by stricter controls for water quality and by the growth in our district,” he said. (Three waters are drinking water, waste water and storm water.)
“We need to balance the services we provide with what our community can afford.”
The consultation document outlines a number of the issues the council is seeking feedback on. It is available from April 12 at all council offices and libraries and by phoning the council on 0800 492 452. It is also online at www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/ltp
Submissions are open until 5pm, Friday May 7.
Drop-in sessions are being held around the district for people to ask questions or get help making a submission. They will be held in Tamahere at the Tamahere Market on Saturday, April 17, 8.30am to 1pm and Tuesday, April 27, from 6.30pm to 8pm in the Tamahere School After School Building.
Another session will be held at the Matangi Hall on April 28 from 6.30pm to 8pm.