The Mangawhai waste-water treatment plant.
The Kaipara District Council (KDC) is floating a proposal to its communities to share the cost of drinking and wastewater systems evenly among all ratepayers.
Council’s sustainable growth and investment general manager, Sue Davidson, says the current system is too complex.
“Capital costs are currently paid for by specific networks while operational costs are shared across all networks, except for the Te Kopuru wastewater scheme, where all costs are paid by those on the scheme,” Ms Davidson says.
Council is seeking feedback on two new options. Ms Davidson says KDC’s preferred option is to share capital, maintenance and operating costs equally across ratepayers on all networks.
“It means everyone would pay the same amount for the same service.”
Ms Davidson likens the option to an insurance system, where ratepayers make regular payments knowing that support will be available when it is needed.
“It has the benefit of spreading costs, so if your system needs work, then everyone on Council systems helps pay for it.”
It also means every household would help pay a portion of major upcoming upgrades.
“For example, it would apply to the new pipe we are proposing for the Dargaville system or to any extension that may be required to the Mangawhai wastewater system in the future.”
Ms Davidson says that some schemes are benefitting from the Government’s Three Waters programme subsidies, which would be shared if rates were equalised.
The alternative option is to ring-fence each system so that only communities which benefit from them would pay for any development, maintenance, and operations.
“This option leaves networks more exposed if Council has to carry out unplanned maintenance on their system and will result in greater cost fluctuations.”
Other topics being consulted include a kerbside recycling service collected from crates instead of bags,
KDC funding for Northland Inc economic development agency, and the future of the Mangawhai Library.
Consultation on the Towards a better Kaipara long-term plan is open until April 1 at www.kaipara.govt.nz/ltp.