Changes to rates and fees, investment in the Aquatic Centre and community safety, and climate change are all up for discussion in the council chambers today.
Rotorua Lakes Council's Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee will be deliberating over the Long-term Plan 2021-2031 today and tomorrow.
The committee will make recommendations to the full council about the plan and the council must make a final decision on it by the end of June.
The council approved the Long-term Plan consultation document in March and it was open for consultation throughout April.
As part of the consultation, the community was being asked to consider the level of investment proposed for the Aquatic Centre, a Community Safety Plan, fees and charges and rates affordability including a proposal to lower the uniform annual general charge.
The council identified its preferred options for these projects and submitters supported council plans for the Aquatic Centre, climate change and fees and charges, but did not support preferred options for community safety and the Uniform Annual General Charge.
Of the 523 submitters on the Aquatic Centre proposals, 74 per cent supported the council's preferred option which was a full redevelopment of the Aquatic Centre at a cost of $28.3 million.
It would include a range of new facilities including a bombing pool and a cafe and would mean a contribution from the council of nearly $18m and a rates increase of $8.09 per individual each year.
Of the 355 submitters on the topic of adjusting fees and charges, 84 per cent supported the council's preferred option which was to adjust fees and charges for some user-based services, having no effect on rates.
However people disagreed with the council's preferred options for community safety and the uniform annual general charge - the fixed portion of rates bills.
The council proposed boosting investment in community safety by $500,000 to $1.14m. This option was supported by 111 of 382 submitters or 29 per cent.
Almost 44 per cent, 167 submitters, supported increasing investment in community safety by $750,000 instead.
Council's preferred option for the uniform annual general charge was also rejected by submitters.
The council proposed decreasing this by $50, an option supported by about 38 per cent of the 289 submitters.
Almost 45 per cent of submitters preferred reducing this by $75.
During consultation, the council also asked for feedback on climate change, the Westbrook sports precinct, Tarawera Sewerage Scheme and more.
All but one of the 28 submitters on the proposed Westbrook sports precinct opposed the proposal to turn Springfield Golf Course into sports fields and housing. Residents have already made their opposition known with the presentation of a 5000-signature petition against the plan.
Submitters supported the council's proposal to confront housing challenges in ways such as accelerating 2000 new home builds, developing the inner city including CBD apartments and establishing community service hubs. They also supported climate change action initiatives like adopting a low-carbon urban design policy, investigating kerbside organic waste collection and promoting public transport.
They opposed a proposal about economic development which included a Draft Economic Development Strategy and committing $29m to support economic recovery and economic development projects by 2022. Twenty submitters were in support, 34 were against and 38 were "other".
Council is also considering a 9.2 per cent average rates increase in year one of the plan and an average annual rates increase of 3.75 per cent for the following nine years.
Of the 70 pieces of feedback on general rates rises, 69 opposed them. The one submitter in support said, "I'm not sure about rates increases. But if they do go up please use the money on infrastructure".
Comments made during feedback were that the proposed increase was "unaffordable for many," "extraordinary" and "would cause a lot of hardship for people suffering from effects of Covid-19".
Feedback on the Long-term Plan
Preferred option: Upgrade all the existing facilities including new learn to swim pool, cafe and spa at a cost of $28.3 million.
Feedback: 389 of 523 submitters in support of preferred option.
Community Safety Plan
Preferred option: Increasing funding by $500,000 per year to $1.13m a year. To increase community safety with the likes of urban design tools, electronic monitoring and community patrols.
Feedback: 111 of 382 submitters support the preferred option while 167 preferred the option to increase funding by $750,000.
Fees and charges
Preferred option: Adjust/increase fees and charges for a number of services especially those where there has been no increase in more than years and where the current funding for the overall service does not meet the funding policy. This will require $2.7m to be collected from across the services where fees and charges are collected.
Feedback: 299 of 355 submitters support the preferred option.
Rates affordability - uniform annual general charge
Preferred option: Reduce the uniform annual general charge from $475 to $425.
Feedback: 109 of 289 submitters support the preferred option while 130 preferred the option to reduce the charge to $400.