A Napier City Council committee is recommending the council bid for a share of $12.51 million of government funding for Three Waters work.
The recommendation comes from an extraordinary meeting of the Sustainable Napier Committee on Thursday, and will go before the council's Maori Committee for possible further endorsement next week before being decided on by the full council at a meeting on August 27 – four days before a deadline for signing an MoU.
Last month the Government announced an investment funding package for three waters (drinking water, wastewater, stormwater), totalling $761m nationwide, with $50m set aside for the four local authorities in the area of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.
Regional allocations were announced this week with Napier eligible for $12.51m, Hastings $15.36m, Wairoa $11.04m and Central Hawke's Bay $11.09m.
Funding allocation for each council is based on population and land area, along with a top-up reflecting leadership and progress Hawke's Bay councils had shown over the past 18 months in exploring reform.
If councils decide to take part in the first phase they each enter into an agreement specifying what the funding will be spent on and the conditions attached to the funding.
The NCC committee has recommended the council entering into the MoU and associated funding agreement and delivery plan for the first stage of the Three Waters Services Reform Programme.
It also noted the Reform Programme is part of the Government's programme to reform current water service delivery, into larger scale providers, to realise significant economic, public health, environmental, and other benefits, and that signing the MoU does not create any obligation upon council with regard to future steps in the programme
It also notes that allocation of the funding would come back to council as a separate paper, as details would only be provided on the signing of the agreement.
Mayor Kirsten Wise noted the council had been discussing what their three waters service delivery model might look like for about 18 months and were already meeting many of the requirements outlined in the MoU.
"It's very important to reiterate what has been said already, that accepting this funding doesn't commit us to moving to a regional model," she said.
She said she had also received personal assurances from Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta and the Prime Minister that the regional delivery model wouldn't affect the Napier council's ability to move to a chlorine-free network.
The MoU requires a delivery plan to show how funding will be applied to operating or capital expenditure on three waters service delivery. The mix would be determined by the council, to support economic recovery through job creation, and maintaining, increasing and/or accelerating investment in core water infrastructure renewals and maintenance.
It would also include a summary of projects, relevant milestones, costs, location of physical works, number of people employed, reporting milestones and an assessment of how it supported the MoU's reform objectives.
Work must begin by March 31 and be completed within a year.
The Hastings council held a workshop earlier this week as it works towards a possible regional funding option with all four councils.