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Next steps for our Long Term Plan

17 May 2018

Our Councillors and Community Board members have been busy over the last couple of weeks discussing the many hundreds of submissions we received during the public consultation on our 2018-2028 Long Term Plan (LTP), and have made some changes to the plan based on your feedback.

LTP ad

"It's been a phenomenal process," says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. "We had 620 residents attend 19 public, ratepayer groups and school board of trustee meetings over the month-long consultation period. Our staff attended market days throughout the district to raise awareness, we had billboards on key roads, polls on social media and in the end we received 775 submissions.

"And then we heard 128 people speak to their submissions over three days of hearings and finally Community Boards and Council discussed and then voted on all the various items in the Long Term Plan - and we still like each other!" Mayor Sandra says.

The overall budgets and project plans haven't changed a great deal from the original projections we consulted on, so there won't be a significant difference to average rates increases from what we published in March.

For example, the average district-wide rates increase will remain at about 5%, just as we originally forecast. However, there will be differences for individual properties depending on location, land value and the services received.

So what are the next steps?

Our staff are busy crunching the numbers based on the changes Council has made through the deliberations meetings this week.

These go into a draft LTP which will be professionally audited in mid-June. We then make any changes required by the auditors and at the 26 June Council meeting the LTP is adopted.

What were some of the decisions?

Thames Pool

(Photo: Thames Centennial Pool)

Coastal management: Our Council approved a budget of nearly $2.6M over the next three years to investigate coastal hazards, fund community-based resilience, coastal hazard response planning and draft a shoreline management plan.

This work is part of implementing our Coastal Management Strategy, which we engaged with communities on last year, and which will be adopted in June alongside the LTP.

Thames replacement pool: One of the bigger proposals we consulted on was a replacement for Thames Centennial Pool. The pool is due for replacement and the location must be changed as the current site covers an urupa/burial ground.

Investigations into a suitable site for a new pool in the Thames area have already begun and will continue, but it was clear from submissions that people in other parts of the district would also like improved swimming facilities - so we'll look into how this can be funded as part of a bigger investigation about Council's provision of public pools.

Unmaintained Council roads: Another of the big proposals was about taking on maintenance of 24 Council roads that are currently unmaintained. Since the consultation, another five roads have been raised through submissions or identified by staff. We consulted on just maintaining the structures on these roads but through submissions decided that our Council should take responsibility for the whole of the formed road. We will meet NZTA standards where we can get their subsidy, otherwise Council will look into an appropriate standard for the unsubsidised roads to be maintained to.

Economic Development Rate: The proposal to remove the Economic Development Rate on commercial and industrial properties and replace it with a $22 rate on all properties (including commercial and industrial), was rejected in favour of the status quo. This is a rate for commercial and industrial ratepayers of $8.35 per $10,000 of improvement value.

The Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC): The proposal to increase the amount collected from the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) and reduce the amount collected from land-value based rating for the general rate was not approved. Instead, the UAGC will be set at a similar level to previous years, but with a small increase to reflect the higher total rates required. This was Option B in the proposal on page 16 of the consultation document.

Rates remission for second dwellings: Our elected members decided to keep the rates remission for property owners who have told us they have a second dwelling that is only used by non-paying family and friends.

The number changes every year as owners of properties with a second dwelling have to apply for the rates remission. In 2017/18, 131 ratepayers qualified for the remission, which cost about $230,000 spread across all ratepayers in the district.

Large BnBs: A proposal to return bed and breakfast properties with four or more beds from commercial to residential rating was approved. This affects eight properties.

Seal Wentworth Valley Road, Whangamata: Approved.

Extend Pottery Lane, Coromandel Town: Approved.

Extend services on Totara Valley Road, Thames: The proposal to extend wastewater, roading, water supply and storm water services up Totara Valley Road to facilitate development in that area was deferred until 2019-22 so staff could determine the appetite for development in the area and report to Council for consideration in setting budgets for the 2019-20 Annual Plan.
For more information on the Long Term Plan, go to www.tcdc.govt.nz/ltp.