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Council plans 6.24% general rate increase, offers $28.3m savings on waters services

Waikato District Council to adopt its Long Term Plan 2018-28 CD
Waikato District Council will meet next week (Wednesday 28 February) to approve a consultation document for its draft 10-year Long Term Plan (LTP 2018-28) which proposes a general rate increase of 6.24% from 1 July.

This increase will drop in successive years to 4.8% in 2019/20, 3.73% in 2020/21 and 3% for the following years.  In addition there will be increases in targeted rates for localised services such as water supply and refuse collections, so overall rates rises may be significant for some communities.

Mayor Allan Sanson says, “We’re the third-fastest growing district in the country and so we have to maintain a fine balance between spending to support growth, and maintaining affordability. We’re expecting a 20 per cent growth in the number of our properties (6,500) over the next 10 years, and another 12,000 new residents in the district

“We need to spend money on our infrastructure – our roads and waters services – to maintain it and to develop it to keep pace with this growth, but we’re also planning for ways to save money for our ratepayers.”

Public consultation on the draft Long Term Plan will include options for managing the district’s water, wastewater and stormwater services that could save up to $28.3 million or more over the next 10 years and keep targeted rates increases under 5% for those services from 2019/20.  Four options are expected to be offered for public consultation, including the Council’s preferred option of contracting Watercare Services Ltd to provide the district’s waters services under the control of a Council-appointed Waters Governance Board.

Public views are also expected to be sought on options for re-balancing contributions to general rates after the district revaluation last year saw properties in Huntly West rise by more than 100% in value compared with an average rise in value of 33.7% across the district.  The Council’s preferred option is expected to reduce the fixed charge in the general rate in order to reduce the rates burden on lower value properties.
Mayor Sanson says more details about the Council’s Long Term Plan, including its infrastructure and finance strategies for the next 10 years, are contained in the consultation document due to be adopted next week for delivery to all residents and ratepayers before consultation opens on 14 March. 
The Council is planning to run a number of public information sessions on its Long Term Plan around the district before the closing date for submissions on Monday 16 April.

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