Tauranga city has the potential to become "one of the greatest cities of New Zealand" - if people agree to spend $4.57 billion of mostly ratepayer money on key projects and services over the next 10 years.
That was the message that came from a Tauranga City Council meeting today in which commission chairwoman Anne Tolley and fellow commissioners Bill Wasley, Shadrach Rolleston, and Stephen Selwood adopted a draft Long-Term Plan 2021 to 2031.
The plan, which is subject to community consultation, effectively underpins the next 10 years of spending and investment in the city's infrastructure, services, and housing.
It also proposes a 22 per cent rate increase which was described by Selwood in the meeting as costing most people about $1 a day.
The $4.57b plan includes spending on community spaces and places ($672m), transport ($1.9b), resilience ($296m), land for homes and businesses ($2.5m), revitalising the CBD ($126m) and delivery ($31m in 2022 plus about $3m per year beyond 2022).
Most of this is expected to be covered by rates and user fees over time.
City-wide rates are proposed to increase 22 per cent in 2022, with some people likely to pay lower than this and some higher that year.
Residential rates are expected to increase by 16 per cent for lower quartile residents and 17 per cent for median and upper quartile residents, including costs to cover the new waste service.
Commercial rates are proposed to increase 27 per cent for lower quartile ratepayers, 35 per cent for median ratepayers and 41 per cent for upper quartile ratepayers.
Tolley and other commissioners each spoke to their desire to hear back from the community in response to what is proposed.
In particular, they singled out the proposed sale of two elder housing villages, funding for community-led initiatives, and the future of the council's civic administration building for feedback.
"We want to hear all of it - what's good, what's bad. After all, the opportunity for Tauranga to become one of the greatest cities of New Zealand is before us," Tolley said.
Tolley also told the meeting she wanted to thank and acknowledge former mayor Tenby Powell and councillors who were elected in 2019 "who set the basis of work for us".
"There was a tremendous amount of work by them to get us to this stage," Tolley said.
Selwood said the plans were not just about growth but for providing for the city, "which has struggled in the past".
"We are getting constant feedback from people [concerned] that we always have to invest in growth and there's a feeling of 'what about us as existing residents, what about our share?'. The reality is this investment is primarily around managing both."
Selwood said a lot of the projects were thought to be growth-focused, such as the Waiāri Water Supply Scheme and the Cameron Rd upgrade, which actually catered to existing residents also.
"If we don't invest in our future we will pay in a whole lot of ways."
The draft Long-Term Plan will go out for public consultation from Friday for a month.