Waipa District Council will decide next week on whether forming a non-asset owning company to manage water and wastewater services is its preferred option.
If so, forming a waters company is likely to be taken to the public for comment via a formal consultation process later in the year.
Since 2012 the council, along with Hamilton City and Waikato District Councils, has been considering how to more efficiently and cost-effectively deliver water and wastewater services. A number of independent reports have said councils and their communities would gain significant financial and non-financial benefits from forming a waters company and working together.
After a Hamilton City Council workshop in April, Waipa District Council said it would be willing to discuss a shared waters management company with Hamilton and Waikato. The company would be a non-asset owning Council-controlled Organisation (CCO) that would employ staff to manage water, waste water and stormwater assets on behalf of the three councils.
The company would not own any major water assets; assets like wastewater plants and reservoirs would remain 100 per cent owned by each council. All decisions would continue to be made by individual councils with the company advising each Council on where and when to invest.
Each Council would continue to decide how to charge its own community for water; the company could not make that decision.
At its Council meeting next Tuesday Waipa District Council will decide whether or not a non-asset owning company is its preferred model. If so, Waipa would reopen discussions with Hamilton City and Waikato District to nut out details before taking a formal proposal to the public later this year.
A decision would only be made after an extensive public consultation process.
Hamilton City has already resolved to form a shared waters management company with Waipa and Waikato, pending public consultation. Waikato District Council has yet to come to a position but has consistently favoured an asset-owning model as originally recommended to all three councils.
The issue will be discussed by Waipa District Council in an open meeting on Tuesday, May 30 in the Council Chambers at Te Awamutu. Members of the public are welcome to attend.