Stratford residents had a chance to have their say on the future of the district last week.
The Stratford District Council hosted a Long Term Plan consultation meeting at Stratford's War Memorial Centre on Thursday.
Over 25 members of the public turned up to hear from mayor Neil Volzke, councillors and council staff as they presented the big projects in the Long Term Plan.
Mayor Volzke said there are four key issues in the Long Term Plan which are water metering, waste minimisation, an economic development targeted rate, and a proposed residential subdivision.
Currently water supplied by council is charged as a fixed annual cost to all connected properties with only a small number of extraordinary users being charged by volume.
The current set fee is $575 a year for water. Council is proposing to lower the charge to $335 per year and then to add on a consumption charge, mayor Volzke said.
Chief executive Sven Hanne said it would cost $90,000 per annum to have the water meters installed, read, and replaced.
"If the meters were installed, we expect we'd save roughly $85,000. It would be cost neutral from day one."
The meters would be read by council every three months, Hanne said.
"Council are also looking at options so people can check their meters. Over time there may be a smart app where people can see their usage."
Volzke said council was aware of the Government's Three Waters Reform Programme when they made the long Term Draft Plan.
"When we made the plan, we kept it as business as usual. There is a possibility that if council opts into the reform programme water, sewage, and stormwater would be handled by another entity and not the council. If we decide to put the metering in, we will know whether we are opting into the reform before any physical work is done. If we do opt in the water metering cost would be transferred to that entity."
Mayor Volzke said the next issue is an economic development rate. Council is looking to collect an additional $1.9 million over the next 10 years to fund economic development activities.
The economic development is currently funded by the Uniform Annual General Charge and a general rate.
Council is proposing that 50 per cent of funding for economic development comes from the Uniform Annual General Charge, 25 per cent from a general rate and then 25 per cent from an economic development targeted rate to be paid by commercial properties only.
Stratford resident Debbie McKinlay asked what activities are benefiting commercial properties.
"We have received $39 million of government funding for the Stratford district and $23 million of that is going towards State Highway 43. To receive funding from government agencies we need to have skin in the game by being part of planning processes so we can build a case to get money."
An attendee asked if there were any plans for more activities to cater to teenagers in the district.
Councillor Min McKay said the economic development plays a part.
"We currently have a green space. The economic development fund helps us attract new businesses by creating a vibrant town. If we show Stratford to be an ideal place to set up a business, it can lead to more activities for teenagers."
Volzke said the proposed residential subdivision would cost $3m.
"The cost would be offset by the future section sales, meaning it is cost neutral for existing ratepayers."
Brian Jeffares asked if there were any plans for social housing to be included in the sub-division.
Volzke said in December 2019 there were 12055 public houses, and the number only went up by three by December 2020.
"It has recently been announced by Government that there will be another 200 social houses added across Taranaki, so we want to make sure we get ahead of the game and have the space available."
Volzke closed the meeting by encouraging the attendees to make a submission.
"We as a council believe different views are good as we encourage people to share their views. It helps us to make informed decisions using technical information and keeping the public's views in our mind when making our decision."