Waikato Regional Council today adopted the 2012-2022 Draft Long Term Plan featuring proposals for improving water quality, coastal area planning, civil defence capability and river catchment and drainage services.
Chairman Peter Buckley said the council had developed a prudent plan that allowed for improved core services delivery and new work aimed at promoting the region's environmental and economic priorities.
"We have done a good job of containing costs while delivering a wide range of services to our communities," Cr Buckley said.
"Our focus on providing high quality services at best cost will continue and this has been mapped out in this Draft Long Term Plan 2012-2022.
"I encourage people to read our proposals and tell us what they think."
The draft plan proposes an average 3.9 per cent rates increase to existing ratepayers for the financial year beginning 1 July 2012. This translates to an extra $16 a year on average. Ratepayers are advised to visit the website to see the actual impact of the proposed increase on their property as rates differ according to property values and the particular services each community receives (www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/Council/Rates/Find-out-your-rates/).
The second and third years of the plan forecast rates increases of 3.4 per cent.
Before the council signed off the draft plan to go out for public consultation, Audit New Zealand auditor Ben Halford told councillors they had prepared a financially conservative and prudent plan.
"You are protecting the council's investments from inflation and building up reserves. You have a strong balance sheet which shows an increase in net assets over the 10 years," he said.
"You are fortunate in that you have no external debt."
The 3.9 per cent increase for year one of the plan includes:
* 1.6 per cent allowance for inflation * 0.1 per cent to cover the cost of taking over responsibility for drainage schemes transferred from Franklin and Waikato districts * 0.7 per cent for the national cycling centre of excellence at Cambridge * 0.7 per cent for the transfer of civil defence costs from local councils to the regional council and increased resourcing.
The consultation period runs from 27 March to 27 April 2012. People should look out for the summary of the plan and the submission form in the special edition of the council's Your Waikato publication delivered to all letterboxes in the region. The council will consider public submissions during May before adopting the final plan on 28 June.