Waipa Mayor Jim Mylchreest says his council is likely to take a very cautious approach towards considering forming a jointly-owned public company to manage water.
On Tuesday, the council will consider a series of staff recommendations around water and waste water services. Those recommendations include joining Hamilton city and Waikato district in funding a study into a council controlled organisation (CCO) to manage water infrastructure.
On Thursday (June 26), Hamilton city agreed to co-fund a business case examination on a possible CCO, as long as boosting the existing shared services arrangement between the three councils was also explored. Waikato District Council has yet to formally consider the issue.
Mr Mylchreest said forming a joint CCO and enhancing shared services between all three councils were just two options on the table. The recommendation said any investigation should also look at Waipa District Council continuing to manage water itself and at council establishing its own ratepayer-owned water organisation.
“This is a hugely complex issue and I suspect my council will wish to look at it very thoroughly and very carefully before reaching any conclusion. If we believe there is a better way to manage water in the future that’s in the best interests of Waipa ratepayers, then of course we should consider it,” Mr Mylchreest said.
“But we need a lot more information before we can reach any conclusion and that’s what any investigation would need to provide.”
The recommendation for the three councils to consider a business case for a waters CCO was made by the Waikato Mayoral Forum following an independent report. That report has been publicly available since April.
Mr Mylchreest said the Waipa community faced significant issues in keeping up with growth while meeting resource consent and other requirements.
“We have some big challenges ahead, including funding a very significant capital works programme. There are a lot of key decisions to be made and we need to have all the information in front of us before we make them.”
The issue will be discussed at the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee meeting next Tuesday [July 1].
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