Korero from deputy mayor Rehette Stoltz
I want to thank everyone who made the effort to engage with Council during our Ten Year Plan consultation period. Every 3 years we as a community have the opportunity to put our heads together and shape our expectations and aspirations for the next ten years. We had more than 20 face-to-face community meetings throughout the district and we engaged with thousands of residents via social media, radio and our local newspaper.
You told us what you value and how you would prefer us to spend your rates money.
This time around, you have spoken loud and clear with over 300 submissions and more than 70 residents or organisations who would like to talk to councillors at our hearings on the 14 - 16 May. After listening to everyone, we'll deliberate and adjust the Ten Year Plan if and where appropriate.
We'll then adopt the plan at the end of June, ready to kick into action on from 1 July.
I would like to acknowledge staff that have processed, analysed and prepared reports for councillors to consider – it's a massive task!
Councillors have made it clear that we have to get back to basics and make sure that we look after our three waters, roads and balance that with some community infrastructure that contributes to the liveability of our region.
We have indicated that we will need an average rates rise of 5 percent for us to thrive.
This week we will also make decisions around how our wards will look and how many councillors will be assigned to each area. There are certain government rules used to calculate how many councillors will be allocated to each area – city and rural, and because our rural population has been declining, we might need to adjust wards, the number of councillors or maybe totally change our ward system.
We'll listen to submitters on Thursday (today) and make a recommendation to the Local Government Commission who has the final say.
Make sure to pop in and take a look at our fantastic new H.B Williams Memorial Library – you will not be disappointed. It's now a fit-for-purpose facility there for everyone – young and old – to enjoy.
I hope you have a lovely week and enjoy the spectacular autumn weather.