Getting bang for our buck, sensibly

Cliches. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are commonly used and whoever came up with them will be wishing they could get a royalty every time they are repeated.

As we head into the consultation phase of our long-term plan (LTP), one I know we will hear a lot is that we should be cutting our coat according to our cloth. So, what does this actually mean?

In a conversation with someone the other day they asked me if we were reducing staff numbers for our LTP.

It reminded me of a popular meme that pops up quite often — a whole lot of people standing around Dave who is working on a road. The quote says "Due to cutbacks, we are going to have to let Dave go!"

Having run my own businesses, I have always been conscious of council running a lean, mean fighting machine.

Cutting costs by getting rid of Dave, though, will leave us all standing around the pothole wondering why nobody is fixing it.

I would be disappointed if we weren’t looking all year round for efficiencies, better ways of doing things and making sure that we are getting the most out of every dollar.

In a conversation with one of our "Daves", he raised the fact that for a piece of work that we are legislated to look after, a council further north has a dedicated comms team of 18 people. Not only is this three times the number of our comms team, it is also more than the total number of people in our council for this activity.

We do a lot with a little.

I acknowledge we aren’t perfect, and we recognise the fact a proposed 13.66% average rate rise in this tough economic climate is not an easy pill to swallow.

When we started work on this LTP 18 months ago, I asked our chief financial officer what our starting number was.

This was essentially if we were to carry on with the current plan with a budgeted increase of around 8% and the number wasn’t flash. With inflation alone, the number had skyrocketed to nearly 30%.

Over the last 18 months we have been carefully and methodically moulding a coat that will still keep us warm, but make use of every bit of cloth we have. Please head to to take a look at our consultation document and let us know if you think we have got it right.

— Rob Scott is the Southland District Mayor