Council unveils new Vision for fast-growing district
To help manage the country’s third fastest-growing district, Waikato District Council today unveiled a new vision that will guide its plans for the next 10 years.
The Council says it wants to create ‘liveable, thriving and connected communities’ over the next 10 years for a population which is expected to jump more than 12,000 – nearly as much as the populations of its largest towns, Huntly and Ngaruawahia, combined.
The new vision and community outcomes are laid out in the document adopted today for public consultation on the Council’s Long Term Plan (LTP) 2018-28.
Mayor Allan Sanson says, “We want to put more effort and resources into ensuring we shape our growth so we create communities that people feel connected to and want to live in.”
“We have set aside $100,000 a year for the next 10 years to develop ‘master plans’ for our key growth areas to ensure our investments deliver real value to our community in an affordable way, and in a way that helps build a sense of community as our district grows.”
The LTP 2018-28 consultation document adopted today says the Council’s 10-year plan aims to balance the need to spend on infrastructure, such as roads and waters services - to maintain it and to develop it to accommodate growth - while also keeping rates at an affordable level. The LTP proposes a general rate increase of 6.24% for 2018/19, dropping to 4.8% then 3.73% over the next two years, and 3% in 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.
Public consultation on the LTP will include options for saving $28.3m on managing the district’s waters services, with a recommendation that Watercare Services Ltd be contracted to supply these services through a Council-appointed Waters Governance Board. This would keep targeted rates increases under 5% for all waters services from 2019/20. Other options for public consultation include reducing the fixed charge portion of the general rate to reduce the rates burden on lower value properties.
Views are also sought on the Council’s schedule of Fees and Charges, and notice given of a separate consultation on the Council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan.
Mayor Sanson says details about the Council’s Long Term Plan, including its infrastructure and finance strategies for the next 10 years, are set out in the consultation document which will be delivered to all residents and ratepayers in the district 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.