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Tasman District Council sets direction for 10-year planning

December 15th, 2017

The Tasman District Council proposes to limit annual rate increases and total debt as part of its financial strategy for the next 10 years, while planning for high-growth population increases.

The Council today confirmed a suite of directions to staff who will draft the plans and budgets for the next 10 years, known as the Long Term Plan (LTP) 2018 -2028.

Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said one of the key directions was to continue with the rates and debt limits set in the 2015 - 2025 LTP, which have been successful in limiting rate rises and reducing the Council's debt over the past few years.

"Our proposal is for the increase in total rates income to be limited to a maximum of 3% a year, plus an allowance for growth, and for our net external debt limit of $200 million to remain. Those limits are challenging when we are expecting high population growth in Richmond, Mapua, Motueka, Wakefield and Brightwater, and medium growth in other parts of the District.

"We will need to balance our priorities very carefully, and limit the number of large capital projects we take on at any one time to achieve that."

Richard said the quality and security of drinking water supplies, and providing the infrastructure to cope with growth were among the big issues the Council needed to address over the next 10 years.

"As well as the 'big issues' and our proposed response to them, there are a wide range of smaller pieces of work that will make a difference to individuals and neighbourhoods. All of those pieces of work, large and small, form our LTP."

Some of the other priorities and projects people can expect to see in the LTP Consultation Document next year include:

- A change to development contributions - the current District-wide method of calculating these changes to a catchment approach, and lower charges introduced for smaller properties

- Funding for Motueka Library construction in 2020/2021

- Funding for further study of flooding issues in Motueka in 2018 and 2019, with capital funding for flood-remediation projects considered through the next LTP (2021 - 2031)

- $10,000 for the Golden Bay Community Board special projects fund

- An extra $15,000 annual funding for the Motueka and Golden Bay museums, and an extra $3,300 a year for the Murchison Museum

- $2.8 million for completion of Tasman's Great Taste Trail

Richard said: "The conversations we will have with the community in early 2018 will help drive the way our District grows, develops and hopefully thrives into the future. Everyone who loves living here has a stake in these plans and I'm looking forward to hearing what people really want us to focus on."

The Long Term Plan will be open for public consultation in March and early April 2018, giving residents another opportunity to comment on the plans before they are finalised. This follows several rounds of early input into the planning process that have been carried out in 2017, including a youth survey, surveys and forums with older residents, and the opportunity for the general public to have input.

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