Cutting inflation adjustments and capping wage and salary
increases has helped the Central Otago District Council trim
a potential average district rate rise of about 5.9% to 5.2%.
However, council corporate services manager Susan Finlay
warned councillors yesterday there was some risk involved
with such a ''lean'' budget.
The council's long-term plan had indicated a rise of just
over 7% but staff had worked to bring that down. She said
most savings had come from taking out inflation adjustments
but the biggest saving overall had come from capping wage and
salary rises for this year and next year.
While staff would still get a pay rise, it would be lower
The intention, after the next election, was to use technology
such as tablet computers to view agendas and other documents,
saving about $40,000 in photocopying, she said.
However, rentals of district assets were down and the council
faced a significant increase in insurance costs. Council
chief executive Phil Melhopt said the budget would ''make it
pretty difficult ... trying to deliver what the financial
strategy says and keep the level of service''.
Deputy mayor Neil Gillespie said the only thing left to
change in order to cut rates was the level of service.
''You've done what you've done and trimmed it [the budget] to
the bone; the only thing left to give is the level of service
... but people don't say what they want less of, only what
they want more of.''
Mrs Finlay said savings had also been made by combining the
roles of the Roxburgh visitor information centre, library and
council service centre, which operated from the same
building. Other savings were gained by changes in IT and the
funding of depreciation in the roading budget. Mrs Finlay
said the Maniototo, Cromwell and Vincent community boards
were yet to consider their ward component of rates so the
average figure of 5.2% could change.