Changes being made to Long Term Plan after submissions heard
On Tuesday, Stratford District Council elected members heard and deliberated on the Long Term Plan 2021-2031 submissions.
After hearing from a number of submitters throughout the morning, Councillors then worked through the key issues identified in the Consultation Document and each of the 114 written submissions individually to ensure they covered everyone’s feedback in their discussion.
District Mayor Neil Volzke says, “Feedback received on our plans is taken seriously, and while some people claim that Council doesn’t listen to the community, I find these exercises almost always result in changes because of what we’ve learned from those who have had a say.”
Debate for and against each of the key questions posed by Council resulted in the following changes to the original proposal:
- Water Conservation: Council opted to keep water meters in the plan, but on the basis that no costs are incurred until there is a clear understanding regarding the Government’s Three Waters Reform.
- Waste Minimisation: Council has stepped back from the preferred option of introducing a food and green waste collection service, and will retain the status quo for this Long Term Plan.
- Economic Development: Council will not be introducing a targeted economic development rate as proposed in the consultation document. This means investment in economic development will continue to be funded as it is currently, by 50% Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC), and 50% General Rate.
- Residential Subdivision: There was unanimous support to move forward with this proposal from around the Council table.
On the back of the above decisions, Council has decided to include an additional 0.5 FTE (20 hours a week) resource into the plan, to support education and promotion programmes surrounding water conservation and waste minimisation.
Elected members have also agreed to increase the financial contribution made to Toimata Foundation for the Enviroschools projects in the district, taking the annual contribution up from $10,000 to $15,000. This new budget doesn’t have an impact on rate payers due to an increase in the waste levy funding.
With these changes made, the Long Term Plan 2021-2031 is looking at a slightly lower average rates increase over the 10 years of 4.60% (was 4.69% in the consultation document). The Year 1 rates increase has gone up from 4.25% to 4.63%.
Council officers will update the Long Term Plan 2021-2031 documents to reflect these amendments and bring these back to Council for adoption on 22 June 2021.