WCC debt to double

Stuff reports:

Wellington’s desire for a movie museum, a pricey indoor arena, and its need for resilience, will bump the city’s debt to more than $1 billion for the first time.

Wellington City Council’s debt level is set to rise from $507 million to $1.16 billion over the next 10 years to pay for investments such as water reservoirs, earthquake strengthening the Town Hall, Let’s Get Wellington Moving, cycleway infrastructure and the arts.

Reservoirs are a must have. A 2nd concert venue on top of the MFC is a nice to have.

Councillor Andy Foster was concerned the council was proposing to more than double the amount it borrowed and was warning ratepayers it will cost them in interest payments.

The spending is within the council’s financial guidelines but Foster, who holds the finance portfolio, estimated the council would go from paying $1m every two weeks in interest to more than $1m every five days.

There’s only 75,000 households in Wellington City so that is $13 every five days per household – just on interest.

“It’s debt heavy. The proposed increase and the costs of debt servicing is a concern… I want to know if ratepayers are comfortable with that or rather we trimmed the costs. I would struggle to put my hand up and vote for the current budget.”

Don’t. Trim the nice to haves.

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