You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
At a meeting last week, the council approved roughly five weeks of consultation to begin on March 12.
But Cr Lee Vandervis took issue with the council’s message that an overall rates increase of 6.5% was required "in order to maintain levels of service".
He pointed to a $4,833,000 increase in staff spending — 56% of the council’s budgeted increase in spending — and asked, with inflation about 2%, whether it would be more appropriate to say "to enable these very significant staff increases" in the public consultation document.
"I’m asking whether you think it adequately encapsulates reality," he said to council staff.
"How do you justify 6.5% just to maintain levels of service?"
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said Cr Vandervis’ questions were "not for staff to answer".
Cr Mike Lord said one factor driving the increase was that "the community’s expectation has increased".
The council also approved hearings for a three-day period from May 4 to May 6 and scheduled deliberations to begin on May 25.
On February 13, the Otago Daily Times asked the council 12 questions relating to the draft budget, the increase in spending, and the addition of 27 full-time equivalent staff.
Those questions remain unanswered.