A month-long consultation opens today on Waikato District Council’s 10-year Long Term Plan, which proposes a general rate increase of 6.24% from 1 July.
The consultation focusses on 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 options for reducing the rates burden on lower value properties by reducing the fixed charge component of the general rate (the Uniform Annual General Charge). More details can be found on the Council’s website at www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/longtermplan.
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 need to spend money on maintaining and developing our infrastructure – our roads and waters services – but we’re also planning for ways to save money for our ratepayers and we want to hear from our community on the options for doing so.
‘We’re running 15 public information sessions around the district during our Long Term Plan consultation to give everyone an opportunity to ask questions and find out more.”
About half the costs associated with the 6.24% general rates increase are for transport and roading, which will add an extra $1.8m to general rates from 2018/19. Of this, a new annual budget of $1.1m has been allocated for emergency works, mainly to be able to respond to major storm damage to roads.
Following short term repairs to district roads damaged in the storms of March and April 2017, $2.58 million has been allocated for permanent restoration and some of this will be accommodated in the new annual budget for emergency works as opportunity allows, with the balance budgeted for completion in 2021/22.
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.
Examples in the consultation document show rates rises ranging from 2.68% to 12.75% for properties of average value in different categories grouped by property type, value and location, and services available. Ratepayers can check the impact on their own property through the Council’s rating information database at www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/rid.
A consultation document has been posted to every ratepayer and householder in the district.