Tuesday 12 December 2017
Community facilities and changes to the Hamilton rates system were the focus for Councillors on the third day of Hamilton City Council’s draft 10-Year Plan debate yesterday.
Once the Council approves a draft plan it will go to public consultation early next year, including a submissions process and hearings, before adoption of the final plan in June 2018. All decisions and approvals made during this stage of the process are subject to confirmation following the consultation process.
Elected Members endorsed proposals to support a regional theatre for the Waikato, approving $25 million of funding made up of a grant from Vibrant Hamilton Trust, proceeds from the sale of Waikato Innovation Park and the remainder to be funded through debt. The Council requested Chief Executive Richard Briggs continue discussions with the Waikato Regional Council seeking up to $10 million via a regional levy towards the theatre project.
The draft 10-Year Plan will also include significant community facilities in the northeast of the city, after the Council approved funding of $18 million for a community hub, library and town square in Rototuna. The Council further resolved to seek a private partner to build and operate a 25-metre aquatic facility on land set aside as part of the Rototuna development.
Two changes to the way Hamilton’s rates are set were also approved yesterday – an immediate transition to capital value rating and the introduction of a fixed component of the rates which will apply to all properties.
Since 2014, the city has been transitioning from a land value-based rating system to capital value. Yesterday’s decision would see that change implemented completely from 2018/19. The 100 per cent capital value change would mean very large rates rises for higher value properties, with 50 per cent of properties paying more than the average and 50 per cent less. To mitigate the extremes, the Council voted to introduce a Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) of $500 per property. The UAGC is a flat fee to reflect there are base costs which apply to all residents and ratepayers. It forms part of the rate amount and is not additional.
Council meetings will continue this week to debate further aspects of the proposals as the draft 10-Year Plan is worked through. A dedicated 10-Year Plan page section on the Council’s website contains formal resolutions and further detail at hamilton.govt.nz/10yearplan.