Stimulating economic growth, compliance with new environmental legislation, town centre upgrades and affordability are the key themes guiding South Taranaki District Council's proposed 2021–2031 Long Term Plan.
At the extraordinary council meeting on March 22, councillors adopted the proposed plan for public consultation.
For South Taranaki ratepayers, the result is an average rate increase of 3.99 per cent each year over the next 10 years - the lowest in the region.
South Taranaki mayor Phil Nixon says the council wants South Taranaki to be the most liveable district in New Zealand.
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"Over the past decade we've focused on upgrading the district's water infrastructure, key community facilities and implementing projects to make South Taranaki a desirable place to live and do business. We now have a much-improved water network and, since our last Long Term Plan three years ago, we have progressed the Hāwera Town Centre redevelopment, Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga and the Nukumaru Station Rd extension projects.
"Our focus for the next 10 years is to complete these key projects, continue to upgrade our three waters infrastructure with a focus on wastewater, increase our spend on roading, implement our environment and sustainability strategy and create the conditions that encourage sustainable economic growth in the right places, with projects such as the South Taranaki Business Park and town centre upgrades for Manaia, Eltham, Ōpunakē, Pātea and Waverley."
He says he understands rates need to be kept at an affordable level.
"We are proposing to fund our key projects with a combination of loans, external funding sources and earnings from the Long Term Investment Fund, rather than through rates,"
"We believe our Long Term Plan proposal strikes the right balance between progress, affordability and providing the services and facilities our communities expect, but we want to know what our residents think."
The plan will be available for public consultation from March 31 until May 7.
A consultation document outlining key issues and proposals in the plan and the impact on rates will be in Council LibraryPlus facilities and at www.southtaranaki.com.