Plan adopted but Tui needful
Environment Waikato yesterday adopted its 2011/12 Draft Annual Plan based on a rates increase of 2.3 per cent to existing ratepayers. This translates to less than $20 for the majority of ratepayers.
But councillors were advised that that figure might rise as the Government is seeking a contribution of $1 million from Environment Waikato and MatamataPiako District Council toward the $16 million to complete the second phase of the project to clean up the contaminated Tui Mine on Mount Te Aroha. The regional council proposes to fund $800,000, with the district council meeting the balance.
The impact of the contribution on rates will be detailed in the chief executive’s submission to the council once staff have identified funding options. Any budget surplus from this year, on top of last year’s $597,000 surplus, is one possible option.
Chairman Peter Buckley said the council would aim to minimise the impact on rates of the Tui Mine funding requirement but would not be walking away from the project to clean up New Zealand’s most contaminated site.
‘‘Local and central government must work together to clean up the mine to reduce the health and safety risks to the community and ongoing damage to the environment,’’ Mr Buckley said.
The council’s other proposals for the coming year continue to focus on natural resource management, transport, flood control, civil defence and other core activities. The council is also looking to invest in new workstreams to drive economic growth.
Mr Buckley said he would be looking forward to hearing from Waikato people about whether the proposed levels of service and associated budgets in the draft plan met community expectations.
‘‘We encourage people to read the draft plan and give us feedback on any matter of interest to them,’’ he said.
The council will also be seeking the community’s direction on specific questions including whether to continue collecting a levy on behalf of the Animal Health Board to fund the region’s $650,000 share of bovine tuberculosis eradication work.
Public consultation on the plan will take place from March 25 to April 26.
The draft plan will be available on Environment Waikato’s website, in hard copy from March 25 and a special issue of Envirocare summarising the plan will be delivered to every letterbox in the region.
The council will hear submission from May 16 to 20 before adoption of the annual plan on June 29, 2011.