On Page 8 of the Horowhenua Chronicle, 09 February 2024, Horowhenua Mayor Bernie Wanden talks about the upcoming Long-Term Plan Consultation and how we ratepayers are facing a possible 17.4% rates rise with a cut to services. The heading reads:
Vital we hear from you over plan. Excerpts below:
Council … after months of workshops and briefings, exploring different options, endorsing a draft Long-Term Plan budget that proposes an average increase in rates of 17.4 per cent. To put that in perspective, the increase in costs around interest, depreciation, insurance and utilities account for 14 per cent of that proposed increase. …
for years, council has not been charging sufficient rates to pay for our capital and operational costs and it has caught up with us. When faced with rates increases in the past, council has debt-funded depreciation as a way of minimising the impact on rates. While this has made rates increases more palatable in the past, it has meant that over time, council has not been able to reduce the level of debt to have room for the renewal of capital assets. This approach is not sustainable. …
Council will need to have some really hard conversations with our community, as we grapple with these challenges. Councillors debated and discussed various saving options but ultimately a consensus was reached that would see a higher rates revenue increase with small impacts to service levels.
It is vital that we hear from our community on what levels of service they are prepared to accept.
Council is committed to being upfront about the challenges we are facing in regards to rates. The LTP consultation document will be printed early March and the consultation period will officially start on March 15. We are encouraging all residents to participate in the LTP consultation process.
When the consultation period opens for the Long-Term Plan we need to share in the decision-making for Horowhenua and have our say. We also need to think carefully about what HDC should and should not spend money on at Waikawa Beach. For example, the footbridge is overdue for expensive repairs. Are we willing to lose the use of the footbridge to fund other local projects?