Auckland Councillors have started the year by confirming the material that will go to all Aucklanders on the Annual Plan and Budget for 2017/2018
In his opening statement, the mayor acknowledges not all councilors currently agree with everything in the material, but what we all do agree on, is that we should ask Auckland their opinion before deciding on how we spend ratepayers money.
There are 5 key regional issues we are asking your feedback on:
1. Rates increases. Currently the LTP has a projected 3.5% increase scheduled for 17/18.
We have worked hard to offer Auckland the choice of keeping this or going even lower to 2.5%
( the mayors preference) or with some re-prioritisation 2%
2. Rating stability. Current policy has residential ratepayers receiving a higher percentage of rates increases to business ratepayers. Should we change that policy so that business and residential ratepayers have the same increase?
3. Paying for tourism promotion. Currently general rates money is used to help pay for tourism promotion and major events. Should we continue to do this or target those ratepayers who benefit more directly from tourism promotion ie accommodation sector which would free up more general rates to be spent on transport infrastructure ?
4. Paying for housing infrastructure. All houses require drains, roads, water supply and sewerage. Should we continue to reply on the current funding tools we have, change our funding policy to allow for the use of targeted rates to fund infrastructure of new houses or request central government to provide more tools for growth infrastructure?
5. Paying Council Staff a Living wage. Should we keep with current policy which in 2016 saw those over $40,000 receive a 1% increase and those under a 2.5% increase, or phase in the Living wage for Council staff and our substantive CCOs, which will cost $7 million by the end of this Council term.
The consultation period for the Annual Budget opens on 27 February and runs to 4pm on 27 March.
Your opinion is very important and I look forward to discussing these with you further and reading your submissions.
There are several ways to have your say. Information and submission forms will be provided to households with the March edition of the Our Auckland magazine. Residents and ratepayers can also find out more and make submissions by looking for the annual budget on www.shapeauckland.co.nz. There will also be opportunities for the public to have their say in person at a range of events around the Auckland Region.
I will be holding a public meeting in the Orakei Ward and will update on my website when th date, time and location are confirmed.