Annual Plan 2011/12
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 11:03AM
Bill Barclay

The Annual Plan will be adopted on Wednesday 29 June.

The final figures to be presented to Council indicate a .2% overall drop in rate income compared with the current financial year.

On the other hand, a 70% increase in borrowing ($16m.) over the LTCCP figure of $6.56m, and 34.5% over the 2010/11 Annual plan figure of $11.85m is indicated.

A study of the accounts as presented shows the usual number of unders and overs from the adopted LTCCP, but the principal additional expenditure for 2011/12 lies with the Whitianga Sports Ground and Land which absorbs an additional $3m, and the Coromandel Aquaculture Resource Consent - $1.1m.  This  $4.1m almost equates exactly to the additional borrowing of $4.09m.

Had all the proposed changes stayed in place, the additional cost of these facilities could have easily been met had a reasonable 5% rate increase been adopted - well below what appears to be being adopted elsewhere.

In other words, the simple process of additional external borrowing will have achieved the much-acclaimed drop in rates. So much for all the ballyhoo about "efficiencies and savings" we have been fed over the last few months during the Annual Plan process.  And let it be a warning of what lies ahead when the proposed new borrowing limit is adopted with the new Ten Year Plan in October permitting additional borrowing of a further $55m over the ten year period to fund all manner of pet projects that our councilors have in mind.

Watch carefully in that regard for the statement that "some of our communities are willing to accept higher rates in order for fund facilities that they require". There is of course little evidence that this is the case, but several councilors have adopted it is a mantra to cover their willingness to spend on their pet projects. If they are so sure that this is the case, why will they not agree to put the additional borrowing proposal to a referendum.

Instead, we have a Mayor and councilors who are determined to achieve their irresponsible election promises by resorting the simple expedient of borrowing more money, and imposing a three year moratorium on stormwater capital expenditure from 1 July 2012. This course is neither fiscally, or morally responsible, let alone meet their obligation to contribute to the maintenance of safe communities. 

Ratepayers who are concerned at this turn of events should at the very least be prepared to make a stand when the Ten Year Plan is consulted later this year.




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