Tauranga Council proposes $3.6b 10 year investment
Upgrading Tauranga community facilities and helping people move around the city more easily are among six long-term investment priorities being considered by the City Council.
The priorities are identified in a ‘working draft’ version of the council’s upcoming Long-term Plan 2021-31, which aims to make Tauranga a better place to live now and in the future.
The city faces major challenges because infrastructure investment has been neglected, contributing to problems such as traffic congestion, a housing shortage, and overburdened community facilities.
The draft plan proposes significant investments in new infrastructure, as well as fixing and improving old infrastructure.
The city’s commissioners discussed the investment proposals at a public meeting on Monday.
1) Homes – create more space for homes and businesses to ease Tauranga’s housing shortage and provide for more than 9000 jobs between the city centre and Tauriko.
2) Transport – help people move around the city more easily and improve connections for local businesses.
3) Community facilities – replace old facilities and build new ones to serve the city’s growing population. Examples include parks, pools, reserves, community centres and a library.
4) City centre – revitalise the region’s heart, spurring the local economy and encouraging private investment.
5) Resilience – strengthening the city’s ability to cope with natural hazards such as tsunamis, floods, landslides, erosion and sea level rise.
6) Delivery – improving the council’s resources to provide quality services and ensure the 10-year investment programme can be achieved.
Commission chair Anne Tolley says Tauranga urgently needs better facilities and improved transport connections to cater for the community’s needs.
She urges people get involved when the plan goes out for consultation in May.
“This long-term plan is the most important in living memory and the involvement of our community is crucial,” she says.
“Our community must have a voice, they must understand the reasons for our decisions, and they must understand how they will be affected.”
Overall, the council proposes to invest about $3.6 billion over 10 years on infrastructure including roads, pipes, parks and wastewater facilities.
The council is considering several options for funding these investments, including equitable ways to spread proposed rates increases among households and businesses.
The proposed rates increase for the median household in the coming year is 12 per cent, or about $5.46 per week.
An additional charge of about $3.70 per week will apply for kerbside collection.
For many households, the council’s kerbside service will be cheaper than what they are currently paying for waste contractors and rubbish bags.
The median home is the one valued at the mid-point, meaning there are an equal number of more valuable and less valuable homes across the city.
The council proposes increasing the commercial rates differential from 1.2 to 1.6.
The differential is the extra amount of rates paid on commercial properties compared with residential properties – a differential of 1.2 means that businesses pay $1.20 in general rates for every $1 paid by homeowners for properties of the same value.
The differential partly recognises that businesses can claim their rates as an expense in their tax deductions and reclaim GST.
The proposed 1.6 differential would still be the lowest of any New Zealand metropolitan city.
If the differential moves to 1.6, the median commercial business rates increase will be 39%, or about $36 per week.
The council will consult on the plan with the people of Tauranga from May 7 to June 7.