Framing of spending criticised

Lee Vandervis
Lee Vandervis
As the Dunedin City Council plans to spend more than $321million next year, one councillor is not pleased with how it has framed its proposed rates increase for consultation with the public.

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.

Comments

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Maybe Aaron can ask the new mandarin (x1.5) who will be appointed to provide 'mayoral strategic advice' to explain it to him. Meanwhile, I will keep my expectations of increased council service at the rate of inflation. Funny that the ORC used the same reasoning to justify their huge prcentage increase, apparently it's all our fault people because of our increasing 'expectations'. It's amazing that the ODT cannot expect get it's questions asked on our behalf answered, especially if you remember that the council centralised it's publicity machine a year or two back (which once again increased staffing) precisely to deal with the dessemination of information. You couldn't make this stuff up could you?

"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."
Then it is time to ask again !!!
Here is one of the additional staff jobs we know about.
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/dcc/dcc-earmarks-funds-new-policy-role
Lets have transparency about this 6.5% increase and have all the new positions made public.
Not a whitewash job to claim the masses.

Cr Lord says "community expectations have increased" as a reason for the increase in rates. Did you mean? 1) special interests? Everyone I speak to say they would rather the DCC get rid of services that are not used/wanted, cut bloated and over paid staff and let ratepayers vote on larger projects. Provide core services, not nice to haves. I would rather spend my money on things I want, and not what the DCC wants.

We desperately need to reform how our local government works. We are not isolated from world events, natural disasters, Coroanavirus, and economic recession. However instead of preparing for such events by increasing governance efficiency our local councils continue to balloon in size and inefficiencies. Literally over a thousand people are sat in offices right now to do the following:-
As defined in the Local Government Act 2002, the purpose of local government is:
to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and
to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.

That's it, that is all they have to do! Nothing more! I ask you does this sound like what our local government is doing?

It looks like only one person is doing his job for the rate payers and asking why, why why, which is not unreasonable. Maybe Hawkins is waiting for the new position communications/policy role to be filled and they will answer those 12 questions. They are relying on them being swept under the carpet- don't give up. Just an Idea ODT, drive to Port Chalmers in a 4 door car, with kiddy locks on the read doors, Pick up Hawkins, and have a video camera, video the trip and ask him the same question your will also see the real Mayor.

Vandervis asks...."I’m asking whether you think it adequately encapsulates reality," he said to council staff.
The reply....Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said Cr Vandervis’ questions were "not for staff to answer".
And this is exactly why we still have a council who refuses to answer the hard questions. Lee Vandervis has always asked the hard questions, however he gets shut down everytime. Some will insist he is ineffective, achieves nothing. Are you surprised when dealing with a council who refuses to answer questions. These questions are in direct relation to the rates we all pay. The stonewalling is profound and palatable. Oh yes indeed, we still have the council of the past. Aaron is merely a puppet playing to a greater force. I look forward to the next election.
And consider this carefully humble ratepayer.....
"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."

Enough said.......now open your wallets, the DCC directs you.

This Council is very good at grabbing our wallets then deciding how much of our money it will take.

The best money saving and waste of council time effort would be for Vandervis to step down.
Didn't the DCC get a NZ top for councils tbe other day????

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