Council sticks to the plan
For 2019/20, Waikato Regional Council has stuck closely to the programme it signalled in its long term plan adopted in June last year.
The council today approved the 2019/20 Annual Plan – it’s the first time the council has agreed on an annual budget and work programme without seeking feedback from the public.
“We consulted extensively on our 10 year plan and, with no significant changes, the Local Government Act now enables us to set the budget without further consultation,” says Waikato Regional Council chairman Alan Livingston.
The $100.983 million budget means an average rates increase of 4.5 per cent for all properties (excluding targeted rates) – slightly below that proposed in the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan.
As signalled in the long term plan, average targeted rates have risen 11.2 per cent, mainly driven by increases in rates for biosecurity, public transport (Hamilton only) and catchment work.
For biosecurity, more funding is being put into pest control, including management of possums, wallabies and kauri dieback. The regional council is collecting rates from Hamilton City ratepayers for the Hamilton-Auckland passenger rail service, which is expected to start in mid-2020, while more flood protection work has been requested by landowners in the Lower Waikato and Waihou-Piako catchments.
While preparatory work for construction of the Waikato Regional Theatre is due to begin in 2019/20, there will be no rating impact for regional ratepayers in the coming financial year. Hamilton ratepayers have been excluded because they will contribute via Hamilton City Council.
Ratepayers will be able to find rates information specific to their property at waikatoregion.govt.nz/ratescalculator from early July 2019.