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Workshop on all aspects of 10-year plan

COUNCILLORS and council staff at a District Council workshop this week discussed opportunities to benefit from the new government’s $1 billion regional development fund.

Acting Mayor Rehette Stoltz said councillors looked at ways of benefiting from the fund, the National Land Transport Fund reprioritisation, minimising waste to landfill and low carbon projects.

The workshop involved councillors and staff getting together to discuss a wide range of subjects as they work towards preparation of the new 10-year plan.

The workshops were planned but were given higher significance after the council was told at its October meeting that it was facing a $5.1 million deficit and potential rate increases of 4.5 to 6 percent unless it could make savings.

Mrs Stoltz chaired the workshop because Mayor Meng Foon is in China.

Focus of the workshop was to provide direction to staff on priorities for the development of the 2018-28 long-term plan (LTP).

A range of funding options was discussed and will be considered to be included in the financial strategy required under the Local Government Act.

“We have asked staff to look at these innovations and ideas, about delivering services through means other than rates and grants,” she said.

Councillors reviewed the high-level capital expenditure project prioritisation and staff have been asked to present budgets that provide maximum impact for dollars invested over the next 10 years.

“Councillors agreed we need to focus on major infrastructure such as roading, water and wastewater. We expect that staff will bring a draft budget back for formal discussion in the next couple of weeks.

“Community views, as expressed through the What’s the Future Tairawhiti consultation as well as customer surveys, will be taken into account as the draft long-term plan is developed.

“At this stage it is too early to provide details on how the 10-year plan budget will look, but we hope to have an indicative budget in December for further refinement.

“The draft LTP will be drafted and will be out for public consultation in March,” she said.