‘Facing our future’ and addressing historical underinvestment in core infrastructure is proposed to remain the major focus for Central Hawke’s Bay, with the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council today endorsing its direction for the 2021 – 2031 Long Term Plan, The formal adoption of the Draft Long Term Planwill happen after consulting with the community in early 2021.
Long Term Plans are a legislative requirement, that sets the services to be provided and the corresponding funding and rating requirements for the District for the next ten years. Required to be reviewed every three years, Council completed pre-engagement in July on the Draft Long Term Plan with the community, through ‘Central Hawke’s Bay – Our Thriving Future’. This pre-engagement and ongoing community feedback reconfirmed the Councils existing strategic direction, that is retaining a major focus on addressing the substantial infrastructural deficit that has plagued the District.
Through the development of the Draft Long Term Plan 2021, Council have grappled with the reality of underinvestment in infrastructure over decades, which now requires urgent and significant investment, coupled with the pressures that growth and development are having. The pressures relating to investment, not only relate to a $81 million bill on the table for the District’s wastewater infrastructure, but Council are also looking down the barrel of a significant step change in investment in renewals across both three waters and community places and open spaces.
Elected Members have a very difficult task weighing the need for rates increases against the need to secure a future or Central Hawke’s Bay, Mayor Alex Walker says:
“The scale of the challenges that we are up against is massive – both in terms of our finances and our infrastructure”, says Mayor Alex Walker. “Ever increasing legislative requirements, addressing long-standing historic underinvestment and historic poor investment decisions, places us in an incredibly difficult position as a community”.
The Draft Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031, presents a proposed average rates increase of 9% in Year 1, while the Targeted ratepayer will continue to see large increases across the full tenure of the Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031 to fund ongoing investment in wastewater, drinking water and stormwater. The general rate will see a high increase in Year 1 of the Long Term Plan before flattening out.
“As Elected Members, we all personally feel the burden and responsibility on behalf of our community in this proposed rates change”, says Mayor Walker. “To put together a plan that faces up to the future to address our significant and long standing historical core infrastructure underinvestment, while not trading off playgrounds with wastewater ponds is brave”.
Councillor Brent Muggeridge, Chair of Councils Finance and Infrastructure Committee, also recognises the challenges the Community is facing in this Long Term Plan:
“Like everyone else in this community, increases in rates at any scale is not easy”, says Councillor Muggeridge. “On top of addressing historic underinvestment, we simply don’t have the luxuries of depreciation funding or other special reserves to off-set our costs. This ‘no-frills’ budget is cutting our cloth as fine as we can, recognising the urgent need to face up to our historic lack of investment as a community in our core infrastructure”.
Council will formally adopt the Draft Long Term Plan for consultation in February 2021 and commence consultation with the community on the Plan in March 2021. Feedback from the community will be critical to help shape the final Long Term Plan and the community’s investment over the next ten years in its aging infrastructure.
Authorised by Chief Executive: Monique Davidson
Monique Davidson, Chief Executive | T 06 857 8060, M 027 422 9977
Lucy Pearce, Project Engagement and Communications Lead | M 027 247 3928
18 November 2020
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