Bay of Plenty residents will be asked to provide their feedback on four key questions later this month when the Bay of Plenty Regional Council goes out for consultation on its 2019/20 Annual Plan.

The four areas the ouncil will be seeking feedback on focus on its Climate Change work; how it should support regional safety and rescue charities, increasing rates to improve access to tertiary education and some regional commuter services; and whether it should increase rates to fund a one year trial of fare free bus travel for Tauranga school students, to help reduce congestion in the city.

The Consultation Document What Do You Think? sets out a proposed work plan and budget for year two of the Long Term Plan 2018-2028, noting any significant variances between what was planned and what is now proposed.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council chair Doug Leeder said the council was taking a slightly different approach to consultation this year – with a longer consultation period and a new approach to hearing from the community.

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"This year we'll be out in the community at a dozen events over a six week period, before holding four Have Your Say events in Tauranga (x2), Rotorua and Whakatāne."

These events would replace the traditional hearings process, providing the community with an opportunity to speak to councillors directly about the proposals in small groups. Comments would be recorded by staff to be used during council deliberations.

"We have some interesting topics we need feedback on this year, and while not all will be applicable to everyone in the region, we're keen to hear all feedback and see people's submissions. This is your chance to have a say on our work for the next year."

Leeder said the Regional Council was also hoping to make it easier for people to see what the effect of any proposals was on their rates, by introducing a rates calculator to its website.

"This tool means that people can enter their address, and then by selecting different options on each of the consultation questions, see what the impact would be on their Regional Council rates.

General manager corporate Mat Taylor said the Regional Council was proposing $187 million of expenditure in 2019/20 and delivering more than $1 million of savings through its fit for purpose review carried out over 2018/19.

Consultation on the Annual Plan would open on March 18 and continue through to May 6.

Submissions will be able to be made via the Regional Council's website where from Monday March 18 people could also read the Consultation Document and find out where and when they could speak to staff and councillors.

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Consultation questions

Climate change – What do you want the council to focus on when it comes to our actions on climate change?

Regional safety and rescue services – How should the council support charities that provide regional safety and rescue services, such as Surf Lifesaving and Coastguard, in the Bay of Plenty?

Passenger Transport - Do you support an increase in rates to fund a one year trial to improve access to tertiary education across the Bay of Plenty and for people commuting to Tauranga and Rotorua?

Passenger Transport - Do you support an increase in rates to fund a one year trial of fare-free bus travel for Tauranga school students, to help reduce congestion in Tauranga?

Have Your Say events

Tauranga
Bay of Plenty Regional Council, 87 First Avenue
Monday 29 April, 3pm – 7pm, and
Wednesday 1 May, 3pm – 7pm

Whakatāne
East Bay REAP, 21 Pyne Street
Tuesday 30 April, 3pm – 7pm

Rotorua
Bay of Plenty Regional Council, 1125 Arawa Street
Thursday 2 May, 3pm – 7pm