Hamilton City ratepayers will be asked to contribute an extra $12.50 per $100,000 of the capital value of their property to help protect the Waikato River as it flows through the city.
The additional rate has been proposed by Environment Waikato as part of Project Watershed. Project Watershed is a major consultation programme being carried out by the Regional Council to develop a new equitable funding policy for soil conservation, river management and flood protection works across the greater Waikato-Waipa catchment.
Members of Environment Waikato’s Middle Waikato liaison sub committee have been told that most of the rate to be collected in the Middle Waikato management zone will go towards funding $1.88 million in river management works within the city, to be carried out by Hamilton City Council.
A further $500,000 over three years has been earmarked for pilot soil conservation programmes in the zone.
The liaison sub committee signed off on this level of work at a meeting in Cambridge last week, as informal public consultation on the draft Project Watershed funding policy draws to an end.
The proposed new funding policy, once ratified at the February Environment Waikato council meeting, will then be subject to a formal consultation and submission process, culminating in the new rates being levied next year.
Under Project Watershed, it is recommended that Middle Waikato zone ratepayers also pay, per $100,000 capital value, $4.04 contributor, $2.17 regional, $2.63 catchment rates, and $3.58 zone rate, making a total Project Watershed rate of $12.42 per $100,000 capital.
Members of the liaison sub committee remain divided on the amount of soil conservation work that should be carried out in the Middle Waikato zone.
It was originally proposed by Environment Waikato staff that $11 million be spent on soil conservation measures within the zone, but the liaison sub committee reduced that amount significantly.
Some members wanted more, but the final consensus at the meeting was that the $500,000 should stand and be earmarked to treat soil erosion blow outs where community good could be demonstrated.