Mon 22 Mar 21
NEW LONG TERM PLAN SIGNALS PERIOD OF SIGNIFICANT CHANGE
Ruapehu mayor Don Cameron anticipates that Council’s new ten-year Long Term Plan for 2021/31 will generate a lot of discussion when it opens for consultation later this month (26 March – 26 April)
“Local government is going through a period of significant transformation that will fundamentally change the services we provide and how we provide them,” said Mayor Cameron.
“Our pre-Long Term Plan consultation has highlighted that meeting new and developing community expectations will be challenging.
People stated a desire to see Council maintain service levels and keep on top of traditional service areas such as water, land transport and waste management while also playing a broader role in promoting their social, economic, environmental and social well-being.
While they want to see the momentum of the previous years maintained COVID19 and a range of other issues such as housing pressures, higher compliance requirements, iwi co-governance and climate change to name a few are posing challenges for communities.
It is evident that whatever may be considered ‘traditional’ core services of councils that our communities expect us to be supporting their well-being wherever the need is,” he said.
Mayor Cameron noted that the ‘big ticket’ item for this Long Term Plan revolves around paying to upgrade 3 waters (drinking, waste and storm) infrastructure to meet higher compliance standards which without Government funding assistance would see Council’s debt top $100m by 2031.
While many ratepayers would have had seen large increases in the capital value of their properties it is the impact of water rates that has had the major influence on individual rate demands.
Under the Government’s 3 Waters Reform Programme the proposal is to transfer all Council’s water responsibilities including all the assets and debt to a new, still to be established, multi-regional entity sometime in 2023/4.
Council anticipates consulting on this issue later this year when we have more detail on the structure of the new entities and how they will operate.
In the interim we need to plan as if we will continue to own, maintain and deliver water services into the future,” he said.
“Other issues that we want feedback on include; maintaining our investment in township revitalisation, how we support our obligations to Māori under the Local Government Act to contribute to our decision-making processes and help develop their capacity to do so, rating amendments, and our role in helping to address Ruapehu’s housing crisis.
Whether you agree, disagree, or have different ideas or suggestions on what we are proposing, please take some time to inform yourself of the issues and let us know what you think.”