How does the Kāpiti Coast District Council determine what to spend ratepayers’ money on? One of the key ways they do that, especially over the next 20 years, is through the Long Term Plan.
Broadly speaking, the Long Term Plan sets out the priorities for the district, and essentially gives people an idea of when things will happen, and how they’ll be paid for. The Long Term Plan also gets regularly reviewed to ensure that it remains relevant and reflective of the needs and wishes of the Kāpiti Coast community.
As part of the process of developing the Long Term Plan, Kāpiti Coast District Council must undertake a period of consultation with the community once they’ve developed their draft plan. This gives everyone the opportunity to have their say on what the Council is proposing should happen, versus what the people of Kāpiti want to happen.
It’s always a difficult balancing act. As with most local authorities around New Zealand, Kāpiti Coast District Council has a relatively limited and small rating base to draw funding from. But we’re also a district that’s experiencing some of the fastest growth in the country, which puts cost pressures on Council too.
A couple of the major themes being looked at in this year’s iteration of the Long Term Plan include investigating what the balance should be between commercial and residential ratepayers in funding the Council and what Kāpiti’s options are regarding flood and stormwater management – an issue that’s becoming more important with climate change and the more frequent adverse weather events we’re experiencing.
As well as these themes, the Long Term Plan covers everything else going on in the region from parks to economic development, transport to public libraries, and everything in between. The Long Term Plan also indicates what the average rates increase each year will be across the next two decades, with the version of the draft plan going out for consultation suggesting an average rates increase of 4.7 percent each year, a figure the Council argues is necessary to fund depreciation of assets.
Public consultation starts on Friday 23 March and closes on 23 April 2018 and you’ll be able to have your say through a variety of opportunities, including face-to-face with councillors and community board members as they undertake a series of “chat-stops” around the district, and either by writing to the Council or submitting via their website at www.kapiticoast.govt.nz.