An average 3.2 per cent rate increase over the next 10 years is being proposed by the Central Hawke's Bay District Council to help fund major infrastructure projects in the years ahead.
The council met yesterday to approve its draft Long Term Plan 2018/2028, consultation on which will begin on February 19.
In presenting the document mayor Alex Walker said it was the culmination of more than 12 months "hard, brave" work aimed at implementing the vision of the CHB community, garnered from feedback received through "Project Thrive" that was conducted in the first half of last year.
One of the biggest and costliest issues highlighted in the plan was the need to ensure that the drinking water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure was able to meet the current and future needs of the growing community.
It was estimated that the district's households would increase by 535 in the next 10 years, and by as many as 1025 in the next 30 years.
The plan noted that improvements and expansion of the water supply networks would be needed within the next 10 years and beyond to cater for that growth, as well as wastewater treatment plant improvements in Waipukurau, Waipawa, Otane, Takapau and Porangahau, and stormwater upgrades.
Costs associated with investigating remedies to make the Waipukurau and Waipawa wastewater plants compliant with their resource consents had not been included in the document, but would be consulted on at a later date.
To help fund the work, the plan proposed introducing a district-wide target rate, rather than the current model where water and wastewater rates were paid by those connected to the networks.
As part of the LTP consultation, the public was invited to give their views on whether they wanted to retain the current system, change to a model that would see 5 per cent of the rates funding requirement paid district-wide, or 7.5 per cent rated district-wide.
The council's preferred option was for 5 per cent to be funded district-wide, which would reduce the annual water charge for those connected to the network from $669 to $648.
"The council feels that this reflects the right balance between the benefits to those connected to the networks and the community as a whole who benefit from there being durable water and wastewater infrastructure in our community that's fit for purpose, controls our environmental impacts and provides for smarter growth," the plan said.
Feedback was also sought on repairing and developing the Waipawa outdoor pool, and how to plan for the future of the district's towns and communities.
Ms Walker said the release of the plan was the beginning of another phase of work going into the future.
"This is part of a far bigger vision that's up to us to take forward and lead - I look forward to the feedback."
Councillor David Tennent said this was the 11th year he had been a councillor and that it was the most exciting period he had been involved with.
"There will be some contentious things in here such as the district-wide charge .... there's some quite brave decisions behind some of the contents, but the council can go out to the community confident that we are united in its direction."
Councillor Shelley Burne-Field said she felt there were some aspects of the Project Thrive discussions that were not included in the Long Term Plan document that would need to be addressed in the near future.
"A focus on the environment and climate change needs a lot of work ... the aspirations of hundreds of ordinary citizens may have been missed in the bureaucratic document ... I'm excited to hear the feedback from the public and want to know from then whether they agree that the council has listened to them."
The consultation will run from February 19 to March 29.