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Dunedin city councillors pared back the rates rise from 6.5% to 4.1% as deliberations concluded...
Dunedin city councillors pared back the rates rise from 6.5% to 4.1% as deliberations concluded yesterday. Over the course of consultation, the Dunedin City Council’s 2020-21 draft annual plan received 924 submissions. GRAPHIC: ODT
Dunedin city councillors stuck to a 4.1% rates rise — and bulked up the Dunedin City Council’s Covid-19 recovery fund to nearly $1million as the council’s 2020-21 annual plan deliberations wrapped up yesterday.

After councillors added $50,000 to the council’s budget, declining the bulk of funding requests with budgetary implications, Cr Chris Staynes balked at a $1million Covid-19 recovery fund, which he was told would push the rates rise to 4.13%.

He instead argued for a $950,000 fund to maintain the 4.1% increase agreed to at the start of deliberations on Wednesday.

Cr Staynes pushed back as well at a suggestion by Cr Lee Vandervis the fund councillors created in response to the social wellbeing and economic fallout from the global pandemic was a "slush fund".

"Clearly, we don’t have complete picture yet of a true impact [of Covid-19]," Cr Staynes said.

"It would be unwise today to allocate that money to particular places.

"We have a responsibility to review those options and invest wisely. This money is part of our ratepayers’ contribution."

Cr Vandervis was the lone voice of dissent in a 14-1 decision yesterday.

"Every business that I know of is cutting back," he said.

And yet the council "charges on ... regardless" with a rates rise, and increased borrowing of $7,538,000, adding the recovery fund "sounds very slushy to me".

He called the recovery fund an abrogation of decision-making to staff and a licence for staff to spend money and write a retrospective report.

"We’ve got absolutely no idea what it’s for, we’ve got no detail," he said.

"We decide the price ... but have no idea what’s going to be in it. "

Cr David Benson-Pope said he was "more than a little disappointed" in his colleagues’ "lack of vision".

Cr Jim O’Malley said slashing budgets was "an easy position to take".

"We are 15 people; we are 15 different views," he said. "This is the will of the council coming through."

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins rebuffed any suggestion of a significant restructure in the face of Covid-19.

"That’s what a business would do, but we are not a business," he said.

This week’s deliberations will be incorporated into the council’s 2020-21 annual plan due for adoption on June 30.

Comments

It is really easy to be very negative towards the DCC and their latest annual plan deliberations however there is some positives that have emerged.
1. Millions of $$$ saved in operational costs with out any service cuts or job losses.
2. Councillors CAN say no to the self entitled who ask for ratepayers money.
3. The slowing of money being wasted on the harbour development.
Just imagine what could be achieved if they could go still further by cutting unnecessary services, stopped try to the job of the OCR, scaling back on the huge overly ambitious projects and sold or scrapped many of its liabilities? We could have the cheapest rates in the country with some of the best essential services and infrastructure.

You read it here folks: The Mayor just wants to spend.
"That’s what a business would do, but we are not a business," he said.

Remember that he is spending your money, not his.

You are in the business of providing a stable and efficient platform for the delivery of some quite essential services. You are not exempt the exercise of prudence and diligence. So far the council has failed on both these accounts. As chairman of the board a resignation wouldn't be amiss.

"That’s what a business would do, but we are not a business," Hawkins said. Forget the fact that Hawkins knows nothing about business. Forget the fact that Hawkins has never had to make payroll OR any other financial decision in a business setting. Forget the fact that Hawkins has never really held a job in the private sector; well actually a job. So where does he get his expertise on all things financial? I don't think he got it with his film and media studies degree at the Uni of Otago. In fact, there is nothing of substance in anything Hawkins has done except in wasting the ratepayer's hard-earned money on idiotic things. Hawkins fancies himself as a comedian, let's make sure he has the opportunity to pursue that as a career because the whole mayor thing just isn't working out for him. Hopefully, he will have a funnier repertoire of jokes to tell then the joke he's living as mayor!!!

 

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