Have your say on next 10-year budget
Posted at 8:00am Friday 19 Feb, 2021
Auckland Council's proposed budget for the next 10 years is in the final stages of development and will be open for a month of public feedback from Monday, February 22.
In the wake of Covid-19, the new long-term plan has been dubbed a “recovery budget” by Mayor Phil Goff and includes the extension of several cost-cutting measures brought in for last year's emergency budget.
He is proposing a one-off 5 per cent increase in general rates in the next financial year, in addition to Council's commitment to a 3.5 per cent annual increase. Mr Goff said this would provide leverage for additional borrowing that would allow $450 million of extra investment over the next 10 years.
“Putting together the 10-year budget for the long-term plan 2021-2031 has been the most challenging in the life of this Council,” he said. “We celebrate being one of the most successful countries in the world in managing to stop the spread of the virus; we have prevented thousands of deaths and the overwhelming of our hospital system, and we have regained the freedoms of living normally. However, the cost to jobs, incomes, businesses and Council itself in financial terms has been very real.”
Mr Goff said that while prudent and responsible financial management was essential, he had opted against an austerity budget.
“That would slow our recovery, put our services and the condition of our assets at risk and further delay the construction of infrastructure needed to catch up with the city's population growth,” he said.
“Aucklanders have told us they want their services maintained and infrastructure renewed and expanded to meet their needs.”
Rodney Local Board deputy chair Beth Houlbrooke urged everyone to make a submission on big picture issues such as roads, wastewater and infrastructure. Speaking at last month's Matakana Community Group meeting, she said pushing for road funding was crucial.
“Council needs to be investing more in our road infrastructure and it's slipping behind. If they don't apportion a bigger budget as a priority, we'll end up with an even bigger problem,” she said. “The Board doesn't get funding for roads, so it's our main advocacy item and we would really like to see people submit and back us up.”
Council will meet to adopt a consultation document and supporting information for the 10-year budget on February 18, then public feedback can be posted online from February 22 until March 22.