As part of Tauranga City Council’s forthcoming 2022/23 Annual Plan and 2021-31 Long-term Plan Amendment processes, the Commissioners want to hear from the business sector on a proposal that aims to achieve a fairer overall rates funding balance for our community.
The aspect we’re most interested in is understanding who benefits from the investments the Council is making in the city and focusing on delivering projects that provide consistent and reliable levels of service, particularly in our transport network.
Research undertaken by Council staff indicates that at present, just over half of the trips on our roading network are business-related. As it stands, commercial and industrial rates contribute just 20 percent of our transport rates revenue, which clearly raises questions about the fairness of the current rates structure.
We’re keen to explore ways to address that equity issue by increasing the commercial differential on general rates and the transportation targeted rate, so that half of our transport costs would be paid by commercial and industrial ratepayers.
This is an important decision, because we’re planning to invest close to $1.6 billion in transport improvements between now and 2031.
That investment programme features major projects to address congestion issues on 15th Ave/Turret Road; and the Hewletts/Totara/Hull Roads sub-catchment; plus growth projects in the eastern (Te Tumu) and western (Tauriko) corridors; work to facilitate Te Papa peninsula intensification (including Cameron Road stage 2 works); and general road renewals and upgrades.
Businesses under economic pressure
The Commission is very much aware of the economic pressures many businesses are facing, as a result of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and border closures. While we obviously don’t want to make that situation worse, we also need to make decisions for the benefit of the whole city and as we all know, we’re playing catch-up on investments that should have been made in the past, but were put in the too-hard basket.
By the time this edition is published, we will have ‘pre-engaged’ directly with the business community via discussions with Priority 1 and Chamber of Commerce members.
Further discussions will take place during the Long-term Plan Amendment (LTPA) consultation period, which starts on 25 March and runs through to 26 April. We would encourage you all to read the LTPA/Annual Plan consultation document (available via the Council website throughout the consultation period) and send in a submission for us to consider before making final decisions on these important plans at the end of June.
If you would like to talk to us directly about any concerns or suggestions, please email Maree King (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange a time in one of our upcoming clinics.