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Major changes on regional ten year plan

Major changes after submissions on regional council Ten Year Plan

Major changes in the way Environment Bay of Plenty works out its rates are on hold or cancelled after deliberations on the Ten Year Plan.

After listening to submissions, regional councillors voted to drop a proposed targeted rate for bio-security. They will continue to fund the activity from general funds.

They also altered a proposal for charging landowners in the Rotorua district for a portion of the lakes restoration work. Chairman John Cronin says the initial suggestion was for two different set rates, related to property size. In the Plan’s second year, a land use component was to be brought into the calculation for larger properties.

The council has now split the set rate into three size bands rather than two. It has also put proposals for rating by land use on hold for at least two years. “We felt that properties which exported more nutrients to waterways should pay more because they have a greater impact on water quality. However, we need to do more work on this and the delay gives us a chance to talk more with local people about it. It has financial implications for rural landowners and we want to make sure we have time to get it right.”

Under the altered system, all properties (urban and rural) of less than two hectares will pay a set amount of $52 a year. Properties between two and 10 hectares will pay $100 while larger properties will pay $300. All amounts exclude GST.

The council has bumped up the set amount for larger properties. It will also increase the rate for all bands progressively over the next three years. By the end of that time, Rotorua district residents will fund about $2.8 million of the lakes work. The rest of it – just under half of the operating expenditure - will be paid by the regional community. “We hope the Government will come to the party too,” Mr Cronin says. “As a region, we simply can’t afford to do this on our own.”

Other changes include:
• Acceleration of passenger transport into the new urban growth area at Pyes Pa. It will now happen in the second year of the Plan, 2007/2008.
• Putting more money into regional development partnerships in Rotorua ($15,000 extra) and the eastern Bay of Plenty ($10,000).
• Putting coastal occupation charges on hold so some proposed coastal activities will now be funded from general revenue – and others will be dropped.

Staff are now making changes to the Draft Ten Year Plan. The council will adopt the revised plan on Thursday 29 June and set the rates.


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