Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Waikato: 4.2% rates rise proposed for increased services

4.2 per cent rates rise proposed for increased service levels

Waikato Regional Council's draft 10 year budget has been signed off, with a proposed average rates rise of 4.2 per cent to existing ratepayers in year 1 to meet the demand for increased services.

However, the rates burden could be much higher for some, with targeted catchment and biosecurity rates due to rise by an average of 11.8 per cent.

But this percentage increase in targeted rates will be more for landowners in the Lower Waikato and Waihou-Piako zones due to a range of factors, including increased catchment works and the increased costs of renewing and maintaining council flood protection assets.

The council has tried to minimise the increases in rates as a result of these costs by spreading the depreciation funding over the first three years of the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan.
The adoption of the draft budget follows almost four days of talks by councillors, who had to make some tough calls when planning for the next 10 years, said chair Alan Livingston.
“Renewing and maintaining flood infrastructure carries hefty costs, but it’s vital we invest in it to protect people, productive farmland and roads,” he said.

“There are also some areas of work that simply cannot be deferred any longer, particularly around catchment management. This is vital work that helps to reduce the risk of soil erosion, sediment getting into waterways and flooding, and improve water quality, river stability and river environments,” Cr Livingston said.

“We’ve been mindful of the impact on our ratepayers, but we need to run an effective business and meet the expectations of our communities to deliver more.

“This situation is not unique to the Waikato. Local government right around New Zealand is being asked to deliver greater levels of service, and this is reflected in significantly higher rates rises some other regions are facing,” Cr Livingston said.

The 2018-2028 Draft Long Term Plan includes provision for new leased council accommodation, given the existing Hamilton East building is no longer fit for purpose.

Cr Livingston added that the 10 year work programme reflected a focus on the council’s mission of working with others to build a future for the Waikato that can be enjoyed for generations to come.

The draft budget was approved for consultation by a 9 to 3 majority of councillors present Friday (2 February). Submissions on the 2018-2028 Draft Long Term Plan will open for a month from Friday, March 16, with the plan to be confirmed by the council following hearings and deliberations in May.

It’s proposed in year 2 of the plan that the average rates increase will be 4.1 per cent and targeted rates will rise by 11.7 per cent. The following year, in 2020/21, the average rates increase will be 3.6 per cent, with targeted rates to rise by 10.2 per cent. These figures exclude inflation.
The following are some of the key topics within the budget that the council is seeking feedback on:

Waikato Regional Theatre: The council has been asked to contribute $5 million towards building a world-class theatre in Victoria Street, Hamilton and $300,000 annually for asset maintenance. The capital costs would be funded over a 20 year period. It would involve rating properties in Waikato, Waipa and Matamata-Piako districts for $4.5 million ($10.26 per property), and then applying a regional rate for the remaining $500,000 ($0.93 per property). Hamilton ratepayers will not be rated by the regional council. This funding will only apply in full from year three.

Commuter rail service from Hamilton to Auckland: At the request of Hamilton City Council, the regional council is seeking feedback on an interim rail solution between Hamilton and Auckland. The interim solution would include two return services a day leaving from the Hamilton train station in Frankton, and arriving at the Papakura train station in Auckland. A minimum government contribution of 75 per cent of the cost will be sought, in line with their election promise. The impact on Hamilton ratepayers will be an average $25 for a $400,000 property.

Regional emergency services fund: The council is proposing to include Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR) as a beneficiary of the fund – first set up two years ago – to address a shortfall for equipment and training costs. In addition, it’s proposed to increase the amount of funding to Surf Life Saving Northern Region by $25,000 a year to cover an extended season for two regional lifeguards at Hot Water Beach. The proposal could see the per property rates contribution rise from $3.74 to the preferred option of $4.13.

Biosecurity: The council heard that funding to tackle pest animals and plants has not increased for three years. However, more money is needed to enable the council to keep doing what it has been, as well as to address the growing threat of pests like dama wallabies, alligator weed, possums, velvetleaf and kauri dieback. An increase on the biosecurity rate of 11 per cent is proposed to meet this growing need.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Child Poverty Monitor: Food Poverty Due To Inadequate Income, Housing Cost

The latest Child Poverty Monitor released today by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner reveals alarming facts about children suffering the impacts of family income inadequacy, says Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

The report found that one in five children under the age of 15 - amounting to between 161,000 and 188,000 children - experience moderate-to-severe food insecurity, meaning they can’t count on having regular nutritious meals. More>>

 

Conflicts, Inadequacies: IPCA Finds Police Investigation Flawed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police investigation into inappropriate contact between a teacher and a student in Gisborne in 2014 was deficient in several respects. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference Multimedia: Grace Millane, ACC Levy Hold, Absent Execs

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began her Monday post-cabinet press conference with an emotional comment on the murder of English backpacker Grace Millane. More>>

ALSO:

Open Government: Proactively Release Of Ministerial Diaries

All Government Ministers will for the first time release details of their internal and external meetings, Minister for State Services (Open Government) Chris Hipkins announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Billion Trees: Questions Over Shanes Jones Carbon Claims

“Officials estimate the actual value of the One Billion Trees (OBT) scheme will be just a third of the amount Mr Jones claimed, at about $900 million, and that he padded the number by including $800 million of ETS benefits and $1 billion of business-as-usual activity..." More>>

'Sovereignty Concerns': Plans To Sign UN Migration Pact

New Zealand is likely going to sign up to a United Nations migration pact this week as long as it can iron out a concern around sovereignty. More>>

ALSO:

Most Vulnerable Face Most Risk: Sea Level Rise Threatens Major Infrastructure

The burden of sea-level rise will weigh on the most vulnerable unless a new approach is developed and legislated, a new report says. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Pope Of Parliament

’Tis the season of goodwill towards all humankind… except it would seem, towards the Speaker of Parliament... More>>

ALSO:

Abortion: Hundreds March To Call For Decriminalisation

About 300 protesters marched to Parliament this afternoon calling on MPs to vote in favour of decriminalising abortion. A recent report by the Law Commission to the government recommended removing it from the Crimes Act. More>>

ALSO:

Secondary Negotiations: PPTA Rejects 'Another Inadequate Offer'

Hard on the heels of an overwhelming rejection of the government’s second offer, the union’s representatives did not believe that the latest offer was good enough to take out to members... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels