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Horowhenua rates and the first 20 year Long Term Plan

Rates set to sky rocket if Horowhenua District Council first 20 year Long Term Plan is adopted.

Rates are set to skyrocket in Horowhenua with plans by Horowhenua District Council to spend up to $52.5 million on new waste water systems and $54.3 million on water systems at Waitarere, Hokio, Ohau, Manakau and Waikawa Beach.

The financial forecasts included in the district’s first 20 year Long Term Plan 2018-2038 for water and waste water is separate to an expected general rate increases of 6.53 percent for the 2018-2019 year.

The council has stated a preference for building new water and waste water systems in both existing settlements and "growth areas" from land development except in Levin and Foxton.

In Levin and Foxton $6.9 million is proposed for upgrades to the existing water supply systems and $7 million for upgrades to the waste water systems.

Areas earmarked for new water systems to service "growth areas" range from $20 million for a new water supply scheme at Waitarere, almost $8 million at Waikawa, $5.8 million at Ohau, $9 million at Manakau and $11.8 million at Hokio.

Areas earmarked for new waste water systems "to service growth areas" range from $7 million at Manakau, over $20 million in Ohau, $9.8 million at Waikawa and $15.5 million at Hokio.

In 2015 the council voted to cancel development contributions that land developers used to pay towards essential infrastructure costs based on each new house build.

Most Council’s have a development contributions policy because sharing the cost of essential infrastructure between residents and land and property developers is largely regarded as fair and equitable.

Since 2015 there has been an explosion of land and property development developments. If council had not voted in favour of cancelling development contributions up to $100 million could have been raised in revenue by the council towards essential infrastructure costs from land developers based on $15,000 per new house build across at least 12 land development projects included in the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan the public were not consulted on.

Coinciding with the intention to construct new essential infrastructure is an intention by council to support the establishment of an investment trust that council's economic development manager Shanon Grainger said in a report presented to the October 2017 strategy committee would undertake, "local projects such as the Levin Town Centre, the provision of better water infrastructure and resources, and the freeing up of land for residential, commercial and industrial construction...using a mix of private equity, bank-sourced debt and possibly council assets or equity."

Recently a Salvation Army State of the Nation report found that economic growth has not been a growth shared by the many. Levin Salvation Army Community Ministries co-ordinator Linda Murray was quoted in an article in a local community newspaper saying there is a serious lack of affordable housing and the impact was felt even by those bringing two wages into the household.

The only conclusion that can be drawn is that if the 2018-2038 LTP is adopted "as is" not only will there be an exodus of residents who can't afford the unsustainable rates rises but the serious lack of affordable housing will only grow worse.

© Scoop Media

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