A preliminary draft 10-year plan that aims to maintain current service levels and sustain the district’s lifestyle has tonight been confirmed by New Plymouth District Council.
The Preliminary Draft Long-Term Plan 2012-2022 includes a proposed average residential rate of $165 per month for the first year of the 10-year plan. This is up $9 from the current average of $156 per month, for an average rates increase of 5.8 per cent.
The preliminary draft will be assessed by Audit New Zealand before the Council meets on 13 March to approve the draft plan for consultation later that month.
Mayor Harry Duynhoven says the global financial crisis and Waitara to New Plymouth sewer project have put pressure on the budget, particularly in the first two years of the plan, but the Council has developed a robust financial strategy to deal with this.
“Overall, we have taken the approach of ‘progress with restraint’,” he says.
“This draft plan reduces the rates requirement by $44 million for the first seven years, compared to same years in the current Community Plan 2009-2019. Even so, we are planning to spend $147m for new capital works and $200m for renewals in the coming 10 years.
“Our financial strategy includes a revised model for release payments from the Perpetual Investment Fund, which will maintain a significant annual subsidy to rates while ensuring its status as a perpetual fund for the benefit of future generations.
“The draft plan proposes phasing in, over five years, changes to rating differentials to better reflect the benefits received by commercial/industrial, residential, small holdings and farm lands.
“We also propose to phase in rating self-contained units, flats and town houses within rest homes as individual residences rather than the entire rest home being rated once as a commercial property.”
A proposal to change the kerbside rubbish collection service to one with recycling/food waste bins and pay as you go rubbish bags will be consulted on at the same time as the Draft Long-Term Plan.
The draft plan has an average of 5.5 per cent annual increase in rates requirement during its 10 years, with seven per cent maximum in any one year. The 2012/13 Local Government Cost Index (i.e. rate of inflation for local government sector) is 5.34 per cent.
Spending on debt interest, as a percentage of rates income, will reduce over the life of the plan.
Major projects in this draft plan include the Waitara to New Plymouth sewer and the multi-purpose redevelopment project at the TSB Stadium/Pukekura Raceway site.