The NZ Herald reports:
Since Len Brown’s first budget in 2011, debt has risen from $3.9 billion and is projected to reach $6.7 billion this financial year – not including the Mayor’s pet $2.86 billion rail loop. Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer says these are huge numbers while mayoral challenger John Palino believes the Super City is being bankrupted.
Soaring debt, hefty rate increases and a blow-out in the wages bill have marked Len Brown’s first term as Mayor and Treasurer of the Super City. …
Since Mr Brown’s first budget in 2011, debt has risen from $3.9 billion and is projected to reach $6.7 billion this financial year. Every day the council has borrowed $2.5 million and the interest bill this year is $347 million.
A good story, that would have been better if it had been done a month or two ago!
On the thorny issue of rates, Mr Brown has proudly driven overall rates increases down from 3.9 per cent to 3.4 per cent and 2.9 per cent in his first term, but been blind-sided by the move to a single rating system in 2012 resulting in some ratepayers paying more than the average and some less.
The Government came to his rescue to cap maximum increases at 10 per cent for three years, but there has been rates pain along the way with Albert-Eden households copping a 19.7 per cent increase in the past three budgets and Puketapapa (19.6 per cent), Orakei (18.3 per cent), Maungakiekie-Tamaki (17.6 per cent) and Howick (15.7 per cent) also being clobbered. Henderson-Massey households have fared best with an overall drop of 2.8 per cent in their rates over three years.
Rates should increase no faster than inflation, on a per capita basis.
The agency that designed the Super City trimmed staff numbers from the 9430 of the previous eight councils to 8207 and forecast an annual salary bill of $513 million by 2012. The actual bill hit $655 million in 2012. Mr Brown told the Herald that the council group currently has 7800 staff – “significantly less than what we were before”.
However, figures in the just-published annual report show a head count of 10,616 fulltime and part-time employees. The notes say “the total number of fulltime employees” is 8074 and the fulltime equivalent of “part-time employees” is 1490. A council spokesman said part-timers were included in the fulltime figure.
What’s more, the number of staff earning more than $100,000 has climbed about 20 per cent in the past year to 1500, 113 of whom earned more than $200,000
So Len’s Council is spending almost 30% more on staff that was proposed.Tags: Auckland Council, Len Brown