This is the first in a series of posts in light of last Wednesdays HCC budget meeting, I will breakdown the proposed expenditure in the coming year in a separate post.
All reviews are in light of the Long Term Community Council Plan (LTCCP), and the impact on these items up to the year 2019.
First Rates:- (you never thought these would go down did you)
- Rates Increase 3.4%
As a result of an increase in council rates revenue in 2009/10 increase is now set at 3.4%, down from 3.9% projected in the draft LTCCP.
This is a direct result of an 11th hour “across the board” cut of $600,000 from the citys operational budget in the coming year 2009/10.
The 3.9% increase is in line with CPI plus 0.5% for city growth. The $600k is out of an operating budget of $120 million, so its not much 0.5% of a percent saving (give me strength).
The difficulty with the above figure is that CPI relates to the current year where as the HCC operates to a different schedule (June year), and indications are that the CPI of 3.4% will actually be around 2% making the council adrift in their efforts to curb increases to residents.
It is well known that people are suffering in the current economy. This has impacts on individuals as well as businesses.
Mayor David Ogden says:
“Times are tough with many households and businesses struggling to make ends meet. Council recognises this and will cut its cloth to keep rate increases down,”
“We believe savings can be found and council managers have agreed to examine all areas of expenditure and come back with specifics on how this can be achieved.”
Average increase to rates are yet to be determined but council officials reckon it will be around a 2.9% increase because of increased rate roll through property growth. No doubt upon receipt of this years rate bill, will you truely get an insight into whether you think the HCC is performing, and reacting fast enough in this economy.
I wonder if 0.5% cut to budget is asking enough of our council. I suspect most people who are directly effected by rates have had to trim their costs by more than 0.5%
Final note: Rates will contribute about 65% of this years income for the HCC, being $78m out of income of $118m (estimates)
Given all the above (if you can stomach the figures) it appears the HCC is doing OK, I give them a pass mark. Other councils in NZ have had far greater increases passed but all of this needs to be factored against Capital expenditure items HCC approved (my next post).