Waikato Regional Council has confirmed it will reconsider the flood protection rating options to be presented to the Te Puru and wider regional community in the council’s 2013/14 Draft Annual Plan.
The decision follows informal consultation with the Te Puru community on four rating options:
- the status quo of a per property charge (known as Option A)
- a combination of capital value and per property rates (known as Option B)
- a 50/50 mix of capital value and per separately used or inhabited part (SUIP) of a property (known as Option C)
- an SUIP rate (known as Option D).
These rating options were developed in response to community concerns about changes to the Te Puru Holiday Park ownership structure, which had been divided into shares since a per property rating method was developed and consulted on in 2003.
Last November, the council’s finance and audit committee endorsed all 4 options for informal consultation with a preference for the 50/50 capital value/SUIP rating option. However, a recent staff report said that the latest feedback from the Te Puru community, including shareowners in the Te Puru Holiday Park, raised two significant concerns around the equity and affordability of this rating model.
First, it overstates the benefit holiday park share owners derive from the works because:
- under their shareholding their occupancy is limited to 50 continuous days
- the size of the shareholding is only 90m2
- there are restrictions on what can be done on the land
- the accommodation is basic with limited facilities, for example many shareowners use communal toilet facilities.
Second, the rating model, which is based on 68 SUIPs, doesn’t take into account the potential number of people able to stay at the holiday park, all of whom benefit from the flood protection.
After considering this new feedback as part of last week’s deliberations over the 2013/14 draft budget, councillors agreed that SUIPs may not be the fairest and most equitable rating mechanism for the funding of flood protection works, and requested other funding options be examined.
Further work to review the basis by which rates to pay for the stopbanks and floodwalls that now protect Te Puru from up to a 1-in-100 year flood event will be carried out over the next few weeks and presented to council on 28 February for inclusion in the 2013/14 Draft Annual Plan.
The regional council’s draft annual plan is due to be to be adopted on 7 March. The public submissions period opens on Tuesday 12 March and closes at 4pm on Friday 12 April. Hearings are scheduled for 7-10 May 2013.