Council has embarked on a journey to find out how and where its money should be spent.
Every three-years Council develops a Long-Term Plan which describes its activities and the community outcomes it hopes to achieve.
This month marks the beginning of a six-month process that will see the final plan adopted in June 2021.
Council is mixing up the way it interacts with the community and wants people to have meaningful input into the 10-year vision.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said community feedback at the pre-engagement stage of the Long-Term Plan enables Council to have a good sense of what the community wants. This information can then be fed into the Long-Term Plan consultation document. That means when we go out for full consultation, we can inform the story of the document which will be based on grassroots community feedback.
The focus of the 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan pre-engagement is Levels of Service.
“We want to know what the community expects from Council. However, it is also important people know what it costs to deliver these levels of service and experience first-hand what it costs to run the district.
“As part of our pre-engagement strategy we have developed an interactive budgeting tool so people can look at where Council currently spends its money, and how, by changing where the dollars are spent, that can affect the services we deliver.
“This tool will enable people to look at the whole picture. There are certain set costs we can’t avoid, and we want people to understand the broad range of services Council provides and the costs of big-ticket items like transport, three waters, compliance and leadership/governance.
“The interactive tools will provide us with well-informed meaningful information. By adjusting the levels of service being delivered people will see how that impacts on the cost.
“At the end of the day Council’s budget is similar to a household budget. We have a set income and a list of expenses. This is about deciding where we spend our money and how much we spend on different services and activities.
“People feel strongly about where Council spends its money, they tell us all the time. This is putting the information back with the ratepayer. You can have the landfill open 24/7 but it is important you know what that is going to cost.
“This tool, which will be available online and hardcopy, will provide a better understanding of where and how Council money is spent.
“We want to move past broad statements of where people think Council should spend its money and instead get people to tell us where their priorities are.”
Pre-engagement will take place throughout January with the following community meetings scheduled:
Feedback from pre-engagement will feed into the consultation document which is expected to go out to the public in April which is when members of the public will be invited to make submissions.
14 January 2021
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