Council adopts Long Term Plan - resilient infrastructure the key focus
Published on June 30, 2021
Horowhenua District Council has adopted its 2021-2041 Long Term Plan after considering over 500 submissions and hearing more than 50 community members and organisations have their say.
”With our population estimated to almost double by June 2041, we are in a period of unprecedented growth. Our Long Term Plan, needs to proactively address this.” Says Mayor Bernie Wanden.
We’ve committed to delivering robust infrastructure. Including more storage for high-quality drinking water supply to support the increased population. We will fund growth infrastructure through development contributions and central government funding, ensuring growth costs are funded fairly by new development. We will invest significantly in the replacement of our existing infrastructure as it is needed.
These investments equate to an average rate increase of 7.8%, or $4 to $5 per week for properties.
The increase is mostly due to the rising cost of infrastructure, including the costs to undertake reviews of our assets condition and performance so we don’t replace pipes before we have to. We have had to increase our budgets for maintenance costs, including our water and wastewater pipes and our treatment plants.
We have made a strategic move towards fully funding the costs of future asset replacement (depreciation) and all the costs of daily operations rather than increasing our borrowings.
The decision to increase rates, is not one taken lightly. We know for many people, this will be a significant household cost. While this year’s rates increase may seem high, our operational costs are ranked the 4th lowest in the country, compared to all other Councils.
“2020 was a hard year for all of us. Covid-19 was unpredictable and left many people and businesses in a state of uncertainty. We held rates last year as we knew many were doing it tough, but we can’t continue to keep rates at the same levels.” Says Mayor Wanden.
“While the community may not see the infrastructure, we have a network of pipes, valves, pumps and tanks that manage the flow of our drinking water, storm water and waste water. This network is dated and complex. It requires maintenance and ongoing investment to ensure it is resilient and can handle the growth we are experiencing.” Says Mayor Wanden.
While it will not be an immediate fix for those households effected most by the rate increase, we are currently undertaking an affordability review. This review will look at factors like a household’s rateable value versus their income and whether the way we currently share rates could be done more fairly.
We continue to provide a subsidy to low-income homeowners and ratepayers on the cost of their rates. Visit www.horowhenua.govt.nz/ratesrebates to check whether you are eligible for this subsidy.
More information on Horowhenua District Council’s Long Term Plan will be available on the Horowhenua.govt.nz website from 1 July 2021.
Council’s decisions on the four key consultation topics:
• Topic 1 – The future of Foxton Pool:
Council resolved to continue with the proposed option 2. To make no change to the existing pools, but replace the building covering the pools, upgrade the change rooms and restore the outdoor area to grass. The operating period would be extended to 12 months.
• Topic 2 – Infrastructure Funding – Development Contributions:
Council adopted option 1. Reintroduce development contributions effective 1 July 2021.
• Topic 3 – Changes to the Land Transport Targeted Rate:
Council adopted option 1. Remove the land transport rate differential. Change the classifications in the Rating Information Database to recognise this change.
• Topic 4 – Changes to the General Rate:
Council adopted option 1. Create a farming differential. Add vacant lifestyle and vacant residential rating units to the farming differential definition.