Horowhenua Community urged to have their say on Long Term Plan

Horowhenua Council want your feedback on Long Term Plan
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Council’s Long Term Plan (LTP) sets the District’s direction for the next 20 years – outlining our activities and providing a long term focus for decision making. It’s an important mechanism which strengthens long term planning, community consultation and participation, and accountability.

After months of workshops, Council meetings and exploring various options, Councillors have endorsed a draft Long Term Plan budget that proposes an average rates increase of 17.4%. To put this into perspective, Council’s interest, depreciation, insurance and utilities alone account for 14% of the proposed rates increase.

Even with this proposed increase, Council still needs to reduce or discontinue some of its current services.  Proposed changes to service delivery include removal of Council’s fund for adverse events and emergencies, increasing fees higher than the average, closing community centres on Sundays, increasing trade waste levies and discontinuing urban berm mowing.  Without these changes, the average annual rates increase would be 23.6%, an increase Council could not endorse.

Council understand the challenges many households are facing, and are empathetic towards the fact that for many its hard to make ends meet.  Our district has a disproportionately lower than average household income compared to the rest of New Zealand and that, coupled with the ever-rising costs of living is affecting everyone, especially those most vulnerable.

Mayor Bernie Wanden says, “Proposing a significant rates increase at any time, but particularly now, is not a decision made lightly, but it’s the choice we have to make, if our community expects to receive the level of services they’re used to.”

The fact is, Council is facing significant cost increases, including impacts on the cost of managing, developing and replacing community assets.  Council is also working to minimise debt and fully rate funded operational costs and depreciation. These cost increases and fiscal management changes mean Council needs to increase fees,  charges and rates significantly to continue providing the levels of service our communities are used to.

In the past, Council has borrowed money to make rates increases more manageable, but this has led to a considerable amount of debt, limiting its ability to renew and invest in capital assets. This approach is unsustainable in the long term. With the change of fiscal approach, by 2027 Council would’ve achieved a fully balanced budget that will enable Council to begin reducing debt. Council will then look to cap future rates increases at 10% per annum.

Council is also consulting on how waste is managed.  This includes the Landfill Legacy Rate – Levin Landfill aftercare and landfill debt, delivery of kerbside recycling services and the draft Waste Management and Minimisation Plan. And lastly, how to share the costs of who should pay for what.This includes the Te Awahou Foxton Community Board Rate, Economic Development Targeted Rate and Rates Remission Policy.

Chief Executive Monique Davidson says, “We need to have some really hard conversations with our community. Councillors have shown courage as they’ve leaned into the challenges head on, ensuring that Council’s infrastructure and financial models are not only sustainable, but will also ensure we are well positioned to deliver the services our community expects – both now and into the future.”

“Take the time and participate in the LTP consultation process to have your say. Now, more than ever, we need your voice to support Council as we navigate challenging times and make tough decisions,” Mayor Bernie concludes.

Visit letskorero.horowhenua.govt.nz/LTP2024-44 for more information or pop into Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom or Shannon Library to view a hardcopy of the consultation document.

How to have your say

It’s easy to ask questions, share your thoughts with Council and make a submission to the Long Term Plan. Submissions close 15 April 2024. Council will receive formal submissions and other feedback, including comments from social media, ahead of Council’s decision making.

[email protected]

In person

Speak to one of our Council Officers on 06 366 0999 or talk to Elected Members face to face at one of our events or workshops. A full list of events and workshops is available on letskorero.horowhenua.govt.nz/LTP2024-44

Drop into a Cuppa with a Councillor session at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom or Shannon Library to learn more about the Long Term Plan, share your views and get help to make a submission.

  • Thursday 21 March at 10.30am
  • Thursday 28 March at 10.30am
  • Thursday 4 April at 10.30am
  • Thursday 11 April at 10.30am 

Making your submission on paper

Submissions can be delivered to: 

  • Horowhenua District Council Offices, 126 Oxford Street, Levin 
  • Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō, Bath Street, Levin 
  • Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, 92 Main Street, Foxton

Posted to: 

  • Horowhenua District Council, Private Bag 4002, Levin 5540