Waikato regional councillors have this week adopted a 10 year plan that supports a sustainable future for the region, where the environment, economy and communities all thrive.
The decision during a special meeting of councillors on Tuesday (26 June) signals the end of more than 18 months of work developing the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan | Te Mahere Roa.
During the meeting in Hamilton, councillors also voted to officially set the rates for 2018/19. There will be a 4.1 per cent average general rates revenue increase from current ratepayers in the coming financial year – the equivalent of less than $50 for the majority of regional ratepayers.
Council chair Alan Livingston said at the conclusion of the meeting: “Developing this plan has been a long but critical process for our council.
“This is not a business as usual plan and there were some important decisions that have been made around issues like our flood protection assets, biosecurity, passenger rail, river and flood management, the social and economic development of our region, improving water quality and providing increased funding and support to landowners,” Cr Livingston said.
“The council’s attention will now turn to delivering on the new works, services and projects that have been budgeted for in this 10 year plan.
“Of course the council’s business as usual work will continue too, and we won’t be taking our eye off existing big issues like freshwater management,” he said.
Appointed Auditor David Walker, from Audit New Zealand, told councillors: “The council made a number of assumptions in preparing the long term plan. It is a forecast document, but events don’t always occur as expected, so there are a lot of things that could change.
“Our unmodified opinion draws the reader’s attention to the key assumptions made in relation to the Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service,” he said.
Mr Walker said the plan provides a reasonable basis for long‑term, integrated decision‑making and coordination of the council’s resources, and accountability of the council to the community. Councillors were told that the information and assumptions underlying the forecast information in the plan are reasonable.
Last month council confirmed the 10 year budget following two days of deliberations by councillors, who took into account the submissions of more than 300 individuals, organisations and groups on eight proposals.
Details of the council’s decisions will be available in the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan | Te Mahere Roa, available in public libraries, from regional council offices, or online at waikatoregion.govt.nz/ltp.