Rotorua elected members support Long-term Plan proposal
17 May 2018
Elected members have voted in support of key projects proposed for the 2018-28 Long-term Plan following a day-and-a-half of deliberations which followed community engagement and consultation.
The Long-term Plan will establish the work and projects to be undertaken across the next 10 years and how that will be funded. This week’s deliberations by the council’s Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee followed six weeks of public engagement and consultation which resulted in feedback from more than 1350 individuals, groups and organisations.
“This proposed plan is about investing in this district’s future and continuing the progress that is already occurring,” Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says. “People I’ve been speaking to out in the community have confidence in Rotorua and want us to keep moving forward. I think we’ve got a very aspirational and strategic plan and this LTP is a continuation of delivering on the Rotorua 2030 vision while also maintaining a focus on making sure we are financially prudent and delivering effective, efficient services.
“The process undertaken with this proposed Long-term Plan has been very inclusive and those who really wanted to have a say have and that’s helped guide us through our deliberations,” Mayor Chadwick says.
The recommendations of the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee regarding proposals for inclusion in the 2018-28 Long-term Plan (LTP) will go to the Full Council for its consideration and final decisions later this month.
Based on decisions made by the Full Council the draft LTP will then be finalised and brought back to the Full Council to formally adopt the plan on 28 June, ahead of the new financial year. The 2018/19 financial year, which starts 1 July 2018, will become year one of the long-term plan.
The Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee has resolved to support the inclusion in the LTP of the following:
• Stage 1 investment of $7.5m in Aquatic Centre upgrades and development over the first 3 years of the LTP with a view to attracting external investment for a further two redevelopment stages.
• Full restoration of Rotorua Museum, expected to cost about $30m, programmed across years 1 to 3 of the LTP and with external funding contribution to be sought.
• Extending kerbside rubbish and recycling services to currently unserviced rural areas, excluding Ngakuru, Horohoro and Upper Atiamuri, and introducing a new targeted rate of $172.75 for those households which will be included.
• Proceed with development of and consultation on a sustainable development policy to ensure the costs of providing the growth component of infrastructure is repair by those who benefit.
• Invest $20m in redevelopment of Rotorua’s lakefront, across years 1 to 8 of the LTP, with a view to attracting another $20m in external funding to create a world-class lakefront experience for locals and visitors. Funding will be sought from Central Government’s Provincial Growth Fund with early indications of support for Council’s application.
• Invest $7.5m across years 1 to 3 of the LTP, with a view to attracting another $7.5m in external funding to improve access and public facilities at the Tokorangi Forest (Redwoods) side of Whakarewarewa Forest, recognising its importance to both the community and the local economy. Funding will be sought from Central Government’s Provincial Growth Fund with early indications of support for Council’s application.
• Invest $5.5 million across years 1 to 6 of the LTP in further development of Kuirau Park, with one third to be sought from external funding sources (and with the proposed skate park project to become a separate project).
• $750,000 in year 2 of the LTP (2019/20) to support fundraising for inner city skate park development (Cr Peter Bentley requested that his vote against this be recorded).
• Establish a new council-controlled organisation (CCO), if required, to attract funding for and investment in lakefront development.
• Continue to explore appropriate models to transfer pensioner housing from Council to other providers to leverage funding and expertise to improve and increase supply to meet growing demand and ensure access for tenants to support services. It had been proposed that Council sell its pensioner housing to an appropriate community housing provider who would be able to facilitate support services and access Government funding councils cannot, however this is not feasible at this time. This will have the financial impact in year 1 of the LTP of increasing council debt by $13m and increasing rates by 1.4%.
• Progress towards a reticulated sewerage scheme for Tarawera, expected to cost between $15m and $19m, working closely with the community steering group to identify further external funding options (with $6.5m secured from the Ministry for the Environment to date) and acceptable early payment and hardship payment options for residents with the contribution per household expected to be about $19,000+GST.
• Hold the business differential at 1.72 and raise the rural residential rate to 1.0, and reduce the UAGC from $570 to $500 (Cr Gould, lakes community board chair Phill Thomass and rural community board chair Shirley Trumper requested that their votes against this be recorded).
The Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee also resolved to support the LTP financial strategy which includes:
• Capital expenditure over 10 years: $485m
• Year 1 rates increase: average $5.7%
• Debt peak (in year 5 of the LTP): $281m
• Increased borrowing by year 10: $60m
During day one of deliberations Council’s Chief Financial Officer Thomas Collé said the financial strategy held debt below Council’s cap and about 70% of the proposed debt was for investment in infrastructure. He said there were other prudent financial measures sitting behind the strategy, including a balanced budget.
During deliberations elected members also considered feedback received relating to matters other than what was included in the LTP consultation document but did not raise any points from these for deliberation, noting these would be referred to relevant teams or managers within council for consideration and/or follow-up.
Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee chair Councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait says the proposed LTP is about the future as well as the present. “That takes bold leadership – we have a vision and now is not the time to be taking the foot off the pedal,” she says.
“We also have a very diverse community with people in different situations and circumstances and we need to ensure our district is a district for everyone and that it is a district where people want to live, work, play and stay.”