Council makes key decisions for next 10 years
Released: 28 May 2021
South Waikato District Council’s Long Term Plan (LTP) 2021-31 hearings and deliberations were another step in our LTP process. The final LTP will be adopted on 30 June.
The average rate revenue increase for the 2021-22 year will be 7.6%, which is slightly lower than proposed.
“Council was pleased to hear from 28 submitters who presented their views, ideas and concerns at the hearings,” said Mayor Jenny Shattock. “Councillors and staff spent three and a half days working through each of the 146 submissions, hearing from submitters and having some robust discussion before making decisions.”
All submitters will receive correspondence regarding their various submission points. This statement covers the decisions on the key issues highlighted in the Consultation Document.
Submissions gave Council a good steer on the five key issues that we raised through the LTP. The outcomes are outlined below:
- Putāruru skatepark – Option B resolved – fund an enhanced skatepark facility at the existing site. 80% of submissions chose Option B. Council committed $550,000 towards the project. Further community engagement will occur. It is likely that additional funding will be sourced from other funders.
- Pensioner housing – Option B resolved – to increase rentals over a period of three years. 78% of submissions chose Option B. Council acknowledges the hardships many tenants face, however Council feels that supporting pensioner housing rentals through rates is unfair on all ratepayers. Given the legislation requiring capital upgrades and the shortfall on existing maintenance, rentals have to increase and increasing over three years is the better option for tenants. Council also notes that rentals in our units will still be considerably lower than market rates.
- Pools and library – the LTP consultation process gave Council a good steer on what the community wanted to see in a future proofed pool facility and showed support for a future proofed library and community hub. After significant discussion Council decided that the decisions regarding sites, keeping the facilities separate or integrating them, moving them to new locations, refurbishment or new builds need further investigation. Two of the primary concerns were not having a pool open to the community during possible refurbishment of the pool and funding levels vs affordability. Funding for these facilities is within the proposed 7.6% average rate revenue increase. Council will do more investigation and come back out to the community with robust options that clearly outlines features and concepts, advantages, disadvantages and risks with the options.
- UAGC – Council resolved to decrease the level of UAGC from the current 25% to 22% in year 1 and 16% in years 2 and 3. Property values in the rural sector are expected to reduce by 8%, compared to the urban sector where some valuations could see as much as a 70% increase in values. Reducing the level of the UAGC allows Council to smooth the rate revenue increases across the district. Rates have to be set on property values by legislation. Property prices are based on the property market; and valuations take sale prices in to account. Property sale prices in the South Waikato have increased significantly. When property values change, the total amount of money Council collects doesn't change, just how the pie is sliced to reflect the changes in market values.
Council also resolved to gradually increase funding asset replacement for its three waters – water supply, wastewater and stormwater, from year five of the LTP to reach 100% by year 10.
“We know rates is always a concern for our community,” said Mayor Jenny Shattock. “Cost and affordability form part of every discussion we have in Council. Council has an ever-increasing range of responsibilities and an ever-expanding list of new projects to support the economic, cultural, social and environmental wellbeing of our communities. We have tried our best to once again balance what we have to do, our business as usual, what is required by legislation and the needs and wants of our community.”
ENDS. Words: 640