Tauranga’s mayor and councillors today adopted the Long Term Plan (LTP) 2018-2028.
The LTP is Tauranga City Council’s activity plan and budget for the next decade.
It looks at projects, priorities and initiatives and how they will be funded up to 10 years ahead, and in detail for the first three years.
Mayor Greg Brownless thanked Tauranga residents and ratepayers for taking the time to express their views during the LTP consultation, which ran from 16 March to 16 April this year.
“Our consultation provided our community a chance to help set the future direction of our city, by sharing their thoughts with us,” Mr Brownless said.
“In deliberating on the draft LTP, we carefully considered all the feedback, submissions and discussions we had with our community in the months leading up to this point.
“I would like to thank everyone once again for their feedback – our community’s participation is an essential part of the Long Term Plan process.”
As part of the LTP, Council agreed to an increased rates requirement of 5.8 percent after allowing for growth.
This results in an average residential rates increase of 3.8 percent and 4.6 percent including glass collection.
The average commercial rates increase is 10.1 percent.
The other key decisions were:
Council decided on a different option to those proposed in the LTP consultation document, shifting the financial burden over time by:
- lowering the uniform annual general charge from the current maximum 30 percent to 15 percent, to be phased in over three years: 25 percent on 1 July 2018, 20 percent on 1 July 2019 and 15 percent on 1 July 2020
- introducing a commercial differential ratio of 1:1.2 to be phased in over the next three years, with a ratio of 1:1.067 on 1 July 2018, 1:1.134 on 1 July 2019 and 1:1.2 on 1 July 2020.
Council decided against introducing a targeted rate for residential and commercial properties in the city centre, which would have been spent on streetscaping and open space improvements.
This work will instead be funded through the general rate.
Council decided to fund resilience work through a targeted rate, rather than via general rates.
Tauranga’s transport network
Council decided to proceed with a balanced public transport and active mode programme of the Tauranga Transport Programme, following broad community support for this option during the consultation period.
Council will continue to work with the appropriate agencies to leverage increased funding rates from central government, for projects that have a strong connection to their priorities for transport.
This includes projects providing for rapid urban growth, active and public transport and road safety.
Council will also support the delivery, in conjunction with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, of a free-fare trial of school buses in Welcome Bay.
Tauranga Cycle Plan
Supported by strong community feedback, Council committed to accelerating the delivery of the Tauranga Cycle Plan.
Council will invest up to $36m towards a $100m government-supported cycle plan over the next 10 years.
Council has also approved a $1m contribution to Western Bay of Plenty District Council towards the Omokoroa to Tauranga cycle trail, to assist with the additional cost for the Wairoa Bridge clip on and the cycleway from the bridge to Carmichael Road.
Turret Road acceleration
Council brought forward funding to accelerate the concept planning and detailed design stages that are already underway for Turret Road, with a view to being ready by 2023 to construct a long-term solution to congestion in this area.
Rates-funded kerbside waste and recycling collections
Council’s current kerbside waste collection service requires residents to purchase approved council bags that are collected each week.
There is no sorting required before waste is put into these bags.
Alternatively, residents can pay for a private general waste collection service that also is not sorted before collection.
This has led to 70 percent of waste being sent to landfill that could be recycled or composted instead.
Following very strong community support, council will take over the city’s residential kerbside waste collection from the commercial sector, to enable and encourage all residents to recycle more and send less waste to landfill.
A council-led service will also enable staff to address the current issues around the types of materials that are accepted at the kerbside for recycling, such as glass and plastics.
The rates-funded service will commence in 2021 to provide the lead-time required to deliver such a comprehensive service across the whole city.
Interim rates-funded, fortnightly kerbside glass-only collection service
As of 1 March 2018, Tauranga’s private kerbside collection providers stopped accepting glass for recycling.
To address this gap in service provision, and supported by community feedback, Council committed to press ahead with its plan to have a rates-funded kerbside glass collection service up and running as soon as possible.
Although the proposed rates-funded waste and recycling service will include glass recycling collections, this will not commence until 2021 due to the time it takes to set up and implement a full, city-wide service.
The glass collection service will cost ratepayers about $26 a year per household and is on track to start in late 2018. Tenders have closed and a supplier will be selected by the end of July 2018.
Council decided not to proceed with a museum for Tauranga after considering community feedback that was received during the development of a museum business case in 2017 and early 2018, the LTP consultation and a museum referendum.
The community has shared its views through workshops, community open days, through community interest groups, social media, online forums, submissions and voting in the referendum.
Central library investment
Council approved the development of a new central library at a cost of $39m including $4m in external funding.
The new library will be a modern, fit-for-purpose facility that will serve as a community hub in the central city.
The library is anticipated to attract an extra 180,000 visits in its first year.
The library will provide access to digital technologies as well as community programmes supporting learning, literacy and digital skills.
Tsunami alerting methods
Council’s proposal to install two tsunami alerting methods generated a lot of interest, particularly from members of Tauranga’s community living along the coastal strip.
Council agreed to install a fixed outdoor PA speaker system in the tsunami evacuation zones to supplement the national alerting system, at a cost of $1.8m capex and $300,000 opex.
Council also decided to continue developing the in-home technology with Thames Coromandel District Council, at a cost of $100,000, to review installation and funding options of an in-home alerting system through the 2019/20 Annual Plan.
Elder housing portfolio
Council has reaffirmed its decision to sell its portfolio of retirement villages to one or more community housing providers to ensure long-term sustainability of the activity, and provide the opportunity for portfolio redevelopment and growth to meet both current and future elder housing demand.
The welfare of current tenants will be protected through the use of covenants to ensure tenure, rent stability and retention of numbers of units.
Any money raised from the sales of the nine villages – 246 units – will be set aside in a reserve for elder or social housing-related use.
Tourism Bay of Plenty funding
Tourism is a growing economy with visitor spend in Tauranga increasing by 19 percent over the last two years. Rapid growth is expected over the next decade.
Commercial ratepayers currently support Tourism Bay of Plenty (TBoP) with $991,000 from a targeted economic development rate.
Council approved an additional $621,000 of investment per annum in TBoP for destination management, in order to help the city and the tourism sector manage tourism growth in a way that benefits the community and protects our environment.
The funding for 2018/19 will be taken from the airport activity, reverting to 100 per cent Economic Development targeted rate funding in years two to 10 unless alternatives are found.
The full LTP document will be available on the council’s website early next week.