Plan adopted but Tui need­ful

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

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.

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