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At Last - Growth Sanity!

following the massive deterioration of our Council's financial state brought about by adherence firstly to the growth projections produced by Waikato University 'experts', and then BERL (the Ivory Tower people from Wellington), our Council has now employed Rationale Ltd. (of Arrowtown, would you please!) to undertaken the mandated review that had to be undertaken this year. The name at least gives confidence!

It appears that our officers have at last managed to employ a group that does not have its head in the clouds, who have come up with projections that more closely relate to reality, and provided the rationale by which they arrived at their figures.

They developed multiple growth scenarios that reflect local conditions and recent history, and have made recommendations accordingly of population and housing growth. The three projections - Low, Medium and High, together with a fourth modified scenario that needs to be informed by clear Council assumptions. The Medium scenario comes some somewhere close to the midpoint of the high point of the mid 2000's and the more recent general economic uncertainty. 

Christine Tye, the policy analyst who wrote the Council Paper, pointed out that  Rationale use very different methodologies to BERL, and so they should - at 2025 they project a 4% difference in population, 10% different on housing, and 8% difference on total rating units. That is how we got into so much difficulty during the previous two Councils over-providing the wastewater schemes, and Ten Year Plan projections that led to all manner of distortion in rating, amongst other issues. 

To be more specific, Rationale project an annual growth rate under the 'medium' scenario of  0.1% of population, 0.5% of housing and 0.5% of Total Rating Units out to 2045. Out of this only Coromandel and Whitianga are projected to have any increase - all others CB's will decline.

This raised some hackles on the top table as Strat opined that if these growth rates were supported, then the rationale for the Zoom Zone indoor facility and Sports Ground will diminish, and he fought (in a Strat sought of way) for the projections to massaged upwards. Stat feels sure that the projects under way in Thames (Thames Urban Strategy, Zoom Zone, and Skate Park) will bring in the punters, reversing the negative growth - good luck! He was supported by Craig Cassidy, but as least Peter French and Sandra Goudie showed some common sense by rejecting Strat's proposition and moving to have the recommended projections  adopted and forwarded to Council.

It was later contended that there was no need for concern regarding the effect of the projections of the now all important sports facilities because "They represent a current shortfall - not a reaction to growth." So that's it then - we can all rest easy, and look forward to the substantial increase in rates required to cover the wonderful new facilities. 

And while on the subject of rates, every ratepayer in the District can loook forward to a $50 or thereabouts impost from next year to cover the cost of the LLP's (for the last time - Leach's Legacy Projects!), that our mayor claims are necessary to get our District out of the economic doldrums. 




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