Community engagement on Hamilton City Council's draft Long-Term Plan is now under way after the consultation document was adopted at last week's council meeting.
The plan includes spending $3.7 billion over 10 years to keep the city running alongside $2.5 billion for capital projects, and councillors want to hear from the community about any of its proposed spending.
The consultation document asks respondents for their preferred option on how the council should proceed on 11 projects – with the options ranging from if or when the project goes ahead, to the level of investment, or how the spending is spread over the 10 years of the plan.
However, Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate said engagement on the draft plan must be bigger than just the highlighted projects.
"Councillors have had months of debate about the projects included in our draft Long-Term Plan, and now we genuinely want to hear from residents about if we've got the balance right," said Southgate.
"I'm encouraging the wider community to share their thinking and ideas about what's proposed but also any projects, partnerships, or ideas we haven't thought about for the city."
Residents' views are also being sought on how the spending is funded, including a proposed rates increase of 8.9 per cent in the first year, followed by annual 4.9 per cent increases.
The 8.9 per cent increase is made up of a 4.4 per cent average increase to the general rate, and the introduction of a government compliance targeted rate, which is equivalent to a 4.5 per cent average rates rise.
The government compliance targeted rate is to cover growing costs as a result of legislation introduced by central government to deliver water services, and make changes to the District Plan. Councils have no choice but to deliver on government expectations, Southgate said.
"This draft Long-Term Plan comes with considerable financial challenges and we have made trade-offs in weighing up what's best for Hamilton Kirikiriroa alongside what's affordable for ratepayers. I don't think any councillor is happy at the thought of a significant rate increase," Southgate said.
"The government compliance targeted rate is about us being as transparent as possible about some significant costs that are outside of our control. We're not sugar-coating anything – it is what it is."
Council also adopted consultation documents for proposed changes to its Development Contribution, Growth Funding, and Revenue and Financing policies.
Once community engagement on these policies and the draft Long-Term Plan gets under way there are many ways people will be able to share their voice:
• at futurehamilton.co.nz
• by picking up hardcopy consultation documents from any Council facility
• emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
• messaging the HCC Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn pages.