Funding our future
But growth and development comes at a cost and we have a limited number of options:
- Do nothing new (or less and watch assets and infrastructure fail)
- Borrow to fund new developments (our children pay)
- Increase rates to fund new developments (we pay)
- Develop new revenue streams to help fund new developments.
Historically NPDC has elected to go with options two and three but we are looking to add option four as a long term strategy to grow community wealth and keep downward pressure on rate growth.
NPDC has large tracts of land and we are considering recycling a small percentage of that land to generate additional revenue. Half of the proceeds of any land developments help fund large capital projects which could include a coastal walkway extension from Bell Block to Waitara, water infrastructure, an aquatic centre redevelopment, a multi sports stadium or other big ticket items which we believe ratepayers will struggle to fund alone.
The other half of the proceeds would be reinvested by acquiring land in areas of the district where houses will be required in a decade or so, growing NPDC’s overall land holdings suitable for development, in tandem with ensuring the revenue generated from the sale of public land is perpetually reinvested to create a new wealth fund for future generations.
Many councils are at or close to their debt limits and simply don't have any options but NPDC does and we are looking to have these conversations now, as opposed to simply breaking the bad news in a decade.
We are committed to ensuring annual rate increases do not exceed 5 per cent whilst ensuring we do not run down our assets, that our taps do not run dry, that we do not reduce services and that we continue to invest in quality facilities and growing our economy.
So as a community we have to make some tough decisions. NPDC has been examining many options and one of these is the future of the council land which is currently leased to the Fitzroy Golf Club.
The course forms a fantastic green belt separating the coast from the suburb and the first thing to make clear is we want to ensure that we keep a wide green belt around the walkway and coast forever.
We have indicated to the club that NPDC supports its long term future on site, potentially at a reduced nine holes. The club does get a lot of casual players through which means more than just the 250 members enjoy the exclusive use of this land. Maybe 3,000 people a year.
But there are 80,000 people in our district and 34,600 rateable properties. We do not believe our ratepayers can handle double digit rate rises. So we have started a conversation about options, about funding the future of our district and about creating wealth. And to do that some people will get upset and some people may have to give something up. These are big serious conversations and it is time to start having them.
We are looking long term and asking the hard questions. How do we find a balance between rates, revenue, growth, services and the ability of our ratepayers to fund it all. We invite you to join this conversation.
Building a Lifestyle Capital.
Mayor Neil Holdom.