Regional council to the rescue?

By: Blogger

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris

During the last few weeks I’ve discussed how Tauranga City Council can reduce rates for homeowners by adjusting the rating system, which is under our control.

You may have noticed on your rates bill last month something we can’t control – the rates you pay to Bay of Plenty Regional Council. BOPRC received a dividend of $20m last year from its shares in the Port of Tauranga, which were granted to it in 1989 when government decided that the regional council should own most of the assets of the former Bay of Plenty Harbour Board – once known as the Tauranga Harbour Board.

Our port’s dividend is forecast to grow to $30m by 2025, which is significant because regional council uses it to subsidise regional rates; not only for Tauranga residents but those in Rotorua, Whakatane and Opotiki too.

None of those communities are forecast to grow during the next 30 years but Tauranga is forecast to grow by 50 per cent.

The demands on our city’s finances from having to cater for growth are enormous. The Southern Sewage Pipeline is nearly complete at a cost of $100m. The Waiari Water Treatment Plant, which we need to begin building next year to prevent water restrictions, is now forecast to cost $100m.

Unlike the towns mentioned above, Tauranga residents have sacrificed nice-to-have projects such as a museum to accommodate more residents. As a voter, you might think regional council should spend the money generated in Tauranga on Tauranga. As a TCC councillor, I couldn’t possibly comment!