The Northland Regional Council is proposing an average rates increase of 29 per cent, excluding targeted levies on local transport and flooding.
NRC is also seeking public feedback as part of its 10-year Long Term Plan (LTP) on a proposal that all ratepayers in the region chip in financially for flood remedial work in areas such as Kaeo.
As part of increasing its work on managing fresh and coastal waters, the environment watchdog plans to hire 18 new staff over three years— fewer than three years after announcing a restructuring it said would eliminate 11 jobs and create 18 new ones.
The proposed rates' hike will cost an average ratepayer about $67 annually, or $1.30 more a week.
The LTP outlines options to pay for water quality, flood protection and pest control as the NRC wants to increase its rates collection from 5 per cent to 10 per cent annually to meet increasing demand and to grow its work.
NRC chairman Bill Shepherd said rates increases were never popular and they were something councillors were acutely conscious of.
"But that had to be weighed against the fact Northland's communities had made it very clear they wanted more done to clean up water, protect native species and provide better flood protection."
NRC's preferred option on water quality is for ratepayers to fork out $14.60 extra for 2018/19, rising to $26.88 by 2020/21, on work around reducing sedimentation in waterways, monitoring of more wetlands, and increasing hydrology work.
NRC currently spends $3.6m a year to reduce the impact of pest animals, weeds and aquatic invaders.
The preferred option is to increase its budget by about $2.3m a year which means an average cost of $28.26 more a year by 2020/21.
On flood-protection works, NRC said the downside to user-pay approach meant it was unaffordable to undertake remedial work in areas of low population with few ratepayers.
One option is for the status quo to remain while another— NRC's preferred option— is to split the cost on a 50/50 basis with average cost to ratepayers of $5.63 per property across the region.
If everyone pays, the average cost will be an increase of $14.25 per property across Northland.
NRC is proposing to introduce a new rate of $55.37 a year on properties in and around flood-prone areas in Kawakawa, Moerewa and Otiria.
In Whangarei, the NRC is proposing $1 million of new work to reduce flood overflows on Commerce St and to create a wetland.
The commercial rate for Whangarei CBD will increase 9 per cent, from $324 to $354.
The public can give their feedback until 4pm on April 17.
NRC will also be holding a series of "Have Your Say" events around the region from March 20 to 27 where people can give feedback direct to councillors.
"We encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of this opportunity to give their feedback to us in person, as these events are being held instead of a more formal hearing process," Mr Shepherd said.