Environment Waikato has implemented a Special Order process to adopt a differential rating system for Project Watershed – its system for funding flood protection, soil conservation and river management works for the Waikato and Waipa river catchments.
A special meeting of the Council was held yesterday to adopt the Special Order process. Hearings were held during April and May for the 500 submissions made on the draft Level of Service and Funding Policy and a number of changes were recommended to the policy.
These include a standard charge in Huntly and Otorohanga for all those who benefit from the work, rating contributors to the need for the work on land rather than capital value, investigating lowering of the main Waikato River bed through Hamilton before a decision is made on how to fund work and an increased contribution from landowners who receive direct benefit from soil conservation work.
The Committee has recommended spending an extra $90,000 on soil conservation work in the middle and lower reaches of the Waikato River.
All land within the Waikato Region is assessed as benefiting from the work. Asset management plans have been prepared for the major parts of the project. The system of differential rating is aimed at establishing fair and equitable relationships reflecting direct and indirect benefits from the project and factors that contribute to the need for it.