Feedback encouraged on Horizons’ Annual Plan

Horizons Regional Council’s proposed Annual Plan will be released for public consultation Monday 13 March, with community feedback invited on a few key changes for 2017-18.
 

Horizons 2015-25 Long-Term Plan (LTP) sets out how we plan on managing the Region’s natural resources for the next 10 years. Each year, through an Annual Plan process, Council determines their identified work programme for the next 12 months and proposes what rate contribution is required to cover the delivery costs.
 
Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon says while the proposed 2017-18 Annual Plan (Year 3 of the LTP) remains relatively unchanged, Council has identified a need to increase expenditure for some areas.
 
“In 2015 our LTP proposed a 4.49 per cent increase for Year 3. Council has worked hard to keep this down to a 4.37 per cent average rate increase for 2017-18. This lower than proposed rate increase has also been helped by ongoing low interest rates on loans, and keeping our Emergency Insurance Reserves at their current level,” says Mr Gordon.
 
The key areas Horizons would like to consult the community on are river management, strategy and policy, biosecurity and biodiversity, transport, and managing natural resources.
 
The proposed changes for each of these are outlined in Horizons’ consultation document, with copies delivered to every letterbox in the Region this week. It is also available on the Current Consultation page of Horizons’ website.
 
“River management has a number of proposed projects for many of our Region’s schemes, including management of our dam infrastructures, and extensions of the City Reach and Rural Upgrade flood protection projects in the Manawatū,” says Mr Gordon.
 
“Following the June 2015 floods, Council has also recognised a need to develop a numerical/computer model which will provide more robust solutions to current flood protection and land drainage service levels. This will require an additional expenditure of $100,000 intended to be split between the Manwatu Drainage and Lower Manawatu Schemes, with a $20,000 general rate contribution.
 
“Other areas of consultation include increasing capacity in the resource management area, addressing an increase in demand for pest enquiries and staggering planned public transport service changes.
 
“As a result of the Annual Plan submissions last year, Council was approached to make a $30,000 contribution to the Philips Search and Rescue Trust which operate five helicopters via the 111 call system in the Central North Island.
“We’d like to know if the community think this is an activity Horizons should support, and if so should it be funded through the regional transport general rate? This would equate to approximately 30 cents per ratepayer for the 2017-18 period.
 
“Having your say on how we manage the Region’s natural resource really can make a difference. We encourage our community to have their say.”
 
Supporting documentation detailing the proposed changes to Horizons’ 2017-18 Annual Plan can be found here. Submissions are opened from 13 March until 13 April and can be made:

  • online at www.horizons.govt.nz;
  • via email to submissions@horizons.govt.nz;
  •  by completing and returning the submission form on the back of the consultation document;
  • in letter form, posted to Freepost 217922, Horizons Regional Council, Private Bag 11025, Manawatu Mail Centre, Palmerston North 4442;
  • or by free phone, 0508 800 800 and asking to make an oral submission.