Waikato ratepayers have indicated strong support for Environment Waikato playing a greater role in protecting natural heritage areas in the Region.
A strong majority of submitters on the Council’s Draft Annual Plan supported the Natural Heritage proposal, and said they were prepared to pay more to support such projects.
The Council adopted its Annual Plan today, confirming that it would develop the natural heritage partnership proposal and proceed with a number of other projects, such as the restoration of Lake Taupo. The Council received about 500 submissions on its draft Plan, many more than usual and covering a wide range of issues.
The Council also approved increases in frequency and later night services for Hamilton City’s bus services, improvements that were supported by 55 percent of submitters. The changes will mean an increase of about $17 per $100,000 of capital value for Hamilton ratepayers who pay a special Passenger Transport rate.
Environment Waikato will be collecting its own rates this year after a change in the Local Government (Rating) Act meant territorial authorities were no longer required to collect rates on behalf of Regional Councils.
Under the Plan, the average regional ratepayer will pay an additional $4 per $100,000 of capital value and the increase will raise $2.56 million in General Rates revenue.
Most of the increase is required to cover inflation, compliance with new rating legislation and Investment Fund adjustments. The General Rate accounts for about a third of the Council’s income. The rest comes from separate rates, Government grants, direct charges, investments and rents.
The increase paid by individual ratepayers will vary throughout the Region, due to changes in property valuation changes and the number of additional properties in each district. Increases for separate rates for flood protection schemes such as the Waihou, Piako and Waikato Waipa range between 2 and 2.5 percent.
In Hamilton city, rates will rise by about $46 on an average $200,000 urban property to $187.36, including the increased Passenger Transport rate. Rises in other areas are:
Waitomo District: Urban (av. $130,000); $63, down $2, rural (av. $1,140,000); $761, down $30.
There is no increase in the Biosecurity Rate – a separate works and services rate paid on rural properties over two hectares. Copies of the Annual Plan can be obtained from Environment Waikato's website www.ew.govt.nz(external link), or by calling Environment Waikato’s Freephone 0800 800 401.