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Te Kūiti Residents - Please conserve water
UPDATE: The Te Kūiti water treatment plant is operational again, but we are still asking people to conserve water while the reservoirs replenish. We appreciate your cooperation last night and thank you for your continued understanding.

Shaping the future of the Waitomo District

16 Apr 2024, 3:27 PM

“How we shape the future of the Waitomo district is important for all, and if there was ever a time to have your say, that time is now.”

That is the message from Waitomo Mayor John Robertson, who is urging residents to have their say on Waitomo District Council’s Draft Long Term Plan 2024-2034 (LTP) Consultation Document (CD), which was released today.

Titled ‘The shape of things to come’, the draft LTP CD sets out Council’s plans for the next 10 years.

“The Long Term Plan is our most important planning tool that sets out what Council intends to do over the next decade - and how it'll be paid for,” says John.

“It includes detailed information about the activities, services and projects Council intends on delivering, when they’ll be delivered, where and how.

“It also includes funding and financial management information. Ultimately it tells you what your rates may look like for the next 10 years.”

The CD focuses on what needs to be done in the next 10 years to improve the wellbeing of the Waitomo district and build resilience for the future.

Council has six proposals for consideration: Te Kūiti flooding remedies; elder persons housing; updating the stormwater rating area; introducing a targeted or differential rate on the District Roading Rate; The funding and future of our Rural Halls; and simplifying the rates structure.

The impact of retaining 3 Waters and the future of the landfill and sludge disposal are also conversational topics included in the CD.

John says it’s important to consider the affordability in each case versus the best outcomes for our District. Our preferred options indicate where we see this being achieved.

“Like all councils and households, we are facing increasing costs just to maintain where we are.

“This includes the increased cost of regulatory compliance, energy, insurance, repairs and asset replacement costs of, particularly, roading and 3 Waters etc, and is reflected in the current inflation level of 5.2% in New Zealand. Some costs have in­creased much more than 5%, such as roading for example.”

In year one of this plan, Council debt will rise by $10 million as we fund improvements to Te Kūiti drink­ing water pipe and reservoir network.

Revenue from rates will increase by 9.54 % above the current year’s rate take to cover the additional costs that inflation has brought upon us and to cover other cost increases, many related to changing weather patterns.

An additional $500,000 of revenue from rates is being sought from land planted in forestry to cover the damage to our roads from logging operations.

Council is proposing a roading “differential rate” on such land that meets certain criteria. This would result in an overall rates revenue increase of 11.72%.

John says Elected Members will need to make some important decisions about how Council can best shape the future of the district.

“We have carefully considered all Council’s financial and infrastructure challenges alongside the issues of affordability of rates and Council debt levels.

“This consultation document outlines our preferred options on how we should rate property owners, where we should spend these rates and where we could make savings.

“Before we decide, it is important that we hear from the community. I encourage you to make a submis­sion through this process. We are keen to know your views.

The consultation period begins on Tuesday 16 April 2024 and ends Friday 17 May 2024.