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General Rate Options Up For Debate During Consultation On Our Plan For The Next Ten Years

We want your views about the general rate increase we are proposing between 2021 and 2024. Should we ‘go hard and go early’ or be more cautious and spread rate increases more evenly over the first three years?

Waikato District Council is proposing a ‘hard and fast’ general rate increase in year 1 of 9% and then 3.5% for year 2 and 3 of the plan. The other option sets the general rate increase at 7% in year 1, 6% in year 2 and 4% in year 3.

We are proposing ways to respond to the district’s growth and changing community and regulatory expectations. Managing these, against a background of uncertain economic and social conditions and our COVID-19 recovery, is not going to be easy.

We have listened to community feedback from our Blueprints, customer surveys and service requests and lined these up with what is required to maintain our current services. We have put together a plan for our district’s future, but this all has an impact on the level of debt and the rates we charge.

Ratepayers, users of our services and developers each pay a portion of the costs to run the services they receive. This year we would like your thoughts on which general rate option we should go with.

Council’s preferred option is to have a one-off larger increase in year 1 as this provides a slightly lower level of debt over 10 years and would cost ratepayers less across the first three years.

The other option is to have a slightly lower increase in year 1, followed by two more years of moderate increases. This option results in a slightly higher level of debt across the 10-year period and slightly higher costs across the first three years, but has a smaller increase in year 1.

Making things a little tricky is the timing of our district valuation, which changed this year due to COVID-19. This means the impact on each individual property value is still unknown. This means you will need to check your property details for the impact these rate options will have when it becomes available from 1 May 2021 at www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/RID.

Waikato district Mayor Allan Sanson says we need to balance what we can deliver with what is affordable in terms of rates and debt. “As a fast growth area council this balancing act will prove to be a huge challenge for us all in the coming years. We need to keep up with this growth, while making sure our community is a desirable place to live, work and play.

“We need to balance the services we provide with what our community can afford. As elected members representing you, we have had to make some tough decisions. We’ve had to weigh up what is best and right for the district, with what we feel is affordable. Trust me when I say there have been many sleepless nights mulling this dilemma over,” he says.

Feedback on our ten year plan opened on 7 April and closes at 5pm on 7 May 2021. Along with the general rates option, this consultation period we’re also asking if we should sell our pensioner housing and if we should discontinue our inorganic kerbside rubbish collection service. At the same time, we are also asking for feedback on the way we hand out funding, user fees and charges, our development contributions policy and the community hall catchment review.

You can find out more about these topics in the consultation document, which is available at all Council offices and libraries and by phoning us on 0800 492 452, otherwise check out www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/ltp for more information and have your say today.

WHAT’S STILL TO COME

We need your help – delivering on bold plans needs to be a genuine collaboration between us as the council and you as the community. We need to make sure we get the best outcomes and strike the right balance.

The decisions we need to make affect you, your whaanau, your neighbours and even your dog. Make sure you get involved and have your say before 5pm Friday 7 May 2021. Do this by visiting www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/ltp or by phoning us on 0800 492 452 and we’ll post you out a submission form.

To make sure everyone can get involved, we will be coming to a town near you soon to answer your questions. Check out www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/ltp for all the details of our drop-in sessions. “Please get involved and make sure you have your say before Council makes its final decisions in June. I hope as many people as possible take the time to get involved and speak up,” Mayor Sanson says.

 

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