Waitomo District's Long Term Plan adopted

2 Jul 2018, 8:50 AM

Waitomo District Council’s Long Term Plan 2018-28, which sets out the future direction for the district, was adopted by Council on Tuesday 26 June 2018, and approved an average rates revenue increase for 2018/19 of 2.48%. 

Formal consultation on the Council’s 10-year plan ended on May 4, with 117 submissions received covering a variety of topics. Of these submissions, 24 submitters wished to be heard in support of their submission, and 16 attended the Hearings on 15 May 2018.

The majority of submitters were supportive of all six proposals contained in the consultation document and of the direction Council has set for the next ten years. 

Some concern was raised for the proposed change in funding method for Water and Sewerage services by the two largest ‘extraordinary’ users of water in Te Kuiti.

As a result of the feedback received from the community during the consultation process, Council deliberated and resolved to confirm its preferred options, as contained in the consultation document and incorporate them into the 2018-28 LTP as follows:

  • Council will pursue the Safe Communities accreditation in support of community development.
  • Council will provide a maximum capital funding grant to the Game on Communtiy Trust (GoCT) of $1.5 million, with $1 million provided in 2018/19 year and $500,000 in 2019/20 under the proviso that if the GoCT are able to source additional funding from other benefactors then Council would contribute less.
  • Council will become a member of the Waikato Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA), and participate in the Sub Regional (South) Economic Development initiative.
  • Two new rates remission categories will be established one for new businesses and the other for properties adversely affected by natural calamities. The details of the criteria and conditions is contained in the Rates Remission Policy.
  • Council will proceed with the upgrade of public toilets in Mokau and Waitomo Village if 50% of the costs of these upgrades can be obtained from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF).
  • Council will implement the new funding method for sewerage and for water services across the District and will set 10% district benefit rate for all rating units across the District. 

In consideration of the submissions by the two largest ‘extraordinary’ water users, Council agreed that harmonisation of water by meter rates would be transitioned over four years starting in 2018/19, same as the Water Targeted Rate.

Council has also adopted a number of strategies and policies including the “Financial Strategy'' and the ''Infrastructure Strategy”, as fiscal parameters within which Council will operate in working towards its vision, so that initiatives are carried out in a fiscally sustainable manner.

Council is committed to reducing debt as part of its Financial Strategy for this Plan. Over the 2018-28 period Council is forecasting dividend income from its shareholding investment in Inframax Construction Limited which will be used to repay debt. This income is forecast at $4.95 million over the life of the 2018-28 LTP starting from 2019/20 year.

The New Zealand Transport Agency recently notified us that the funding assistance rate for roading maintenance and renewals would be increased from 65% to 73% starting 1 July 2018. This will mean additional subsidy income. Council has agreed to utilise this additional subsidy to further reduce its debt over the 2018-28 LTP, in keeping with its overall Financial Strategy. This will also have an indirect effect on reducing rates requirement due to reduction in interest costs.

Over the term of the 2018-28 LTP, public debt is forecast to reduce from a high of $46.8 million in 2018 to $24 million by the end of 2028. This is a decrease of $22.8 million or nearly half (49%) over the ten year period.

WDC is pleased to have heard from many Waitomo District residents, and are delighted that so many people took the time to get involved and share their thoughts with Council.

The final Long Term Plan 2018-28 will be made publicly available in mid-July 2018 on Council’s website and in hardcopy format.