Hawke's Bay residents, some already facing rates increases from district council, could be facing rates increase of 19.5 per cent from the regional council as well.
The potential rates increase has been signalled in the Hawke's Bay Regional Council's draft Long-Term Plan for 2021-31, as the council looks at environmental efforts.
Council has proposed investing an extra $10.5 million on the services it delivers to the region and $14.7 million on infrastructure and capital projects in 2021-22.
Council chairman Rex Graham said while 19.5 per cent seemed like a "big increase", it came off the back of a low base and several decades of under-investment.
The total rate increases combined this year's rate increase of 11 per cent and last year's rate increase of 8.5 per cent which was deferred due to Covid-19, he said.
"On average, this would see a weekly increase of around $0.94 cents for residential, $3.60 for commercial and $4.49 for rural ratepayers, noting that rating affects each property differently."
Graham said the community had signalled protecting and restoring the natural environment was an urgent priority.
"Recent law changes and increased community expectations, particularly around freshwater reform, also contribute to the need for significant investment and activity increases over the next 10 years."
The regional council's "must do" programme of work will see a $9.7m increase in operational investment this coming year and 23 new staff.
Ratepayers are also being asked for feedback on six proposals.
Hoping to strike a better balance between pasture and forestry, council will fund the development and pilot of Right Tree Right Place at a cost of $4.8 million over three years.
The programme will see more of the region's erodible farmland planted up as an alternative to whole farm afforestation.
Council is also looking to work with water users to drive more efficient and effective use, complementing its focus on water storage with plans to put aside $1 million over three years.
The Clive River will be deepened as far as far as Kohupātiki Marae, for recreation and environmental benefits in 2030 at a cost of $2.98m over nine years, with the silt deposited to land instead of the sea.
Gravel build-up from the upper Tukituki River will also be removed to reduce flooding risk.
Council will invest $2.5m to unlock a $4.5m grant from central government.
Graham said council's proposed increase in investment took advantage of funding already secured from the government's Covid-19 stimulus package.
"We acknowledge that doing more puts more pressure on rates, so to reduce the impact on ratepayers, we propose to continue to borrow for capital projects – and also to cover operational costs for the next four years."
Council also proposed funding an on-demand public transport, piloting a virtual bus-stop, technology-enabled service starting in Hastings over the next two years, and to be followed in Napier in 2023-2024.
The Regional Council will loan-fund $1.2 million in 2023-24 and $9 million over the course of years 4-10 to develop a Regional Park in the upper Ahuriri Estuary, kickstarting improvements to the area with Napier City Council and Mana Ahuriri Trust.
Graham said council needed to be courageous in facing up to the "environmental debt" created by society and invest in future generations.
"The council has a strong balance sheet and we propose to use this to address the big environmental issues facing our region now, rather than kicking the can down the road."
While Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay president Jim Galloway said there was some potentially "good work" in the proposal, rates were increasingly one of the biggest expenses on farm.
Rates of $10,000 to $20,000 were not an unusual, he said.
"It's getting to be one of our bigger expenses on farm full stop. And it is the biggest increase over many years."
He said rural ratepayers had seen between 20 and 50 per cent rates increases on most farms over the last three years - except for last year.
Hastings District Council had also proposed rates increases of more than 40 per cent over the next six years for rural areas and Central Hawke's Bay District Council between 7 and 13 per cent over the next five years.
Galloway acknowledged that regional and local councils had been asked to do more by central government, often without the additional funding support.
"A big chunk of that money has gone on to staff costs.
"They've got to be looking at all operations and make sure we're getting back for our buck."
Public consultation on the draft Long Term Plan will run from April 1 to May 2 2021.
The consultation documents will be available online from March 29, where people can find out more, including how the six proposals could impact on Regional Council rates by property, and make a submission.