It was reported in STUFF on the 25th May 2018 that an elected member informed the Council that “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.” 12 months later the Local Government Funding Authority (LGFA) have place City Hall on a credit watch. This leads to a number of important questions for all residents and ratepayers, as we have to pay for council decisions.
Do we have an UNCONTROLLED SPENDING PROBLEM?
Each year the Hamilton City Council annual report informs our stewards of the Ratepayer purse. In recent years this has included such information as:
Events Group (including Claudelands Event Centre) losses of $116 Million between 2012 and 2018;
The balanced budget Government measure shows losses each year since 2013, including $5M in 2018.
If Deferred Debt is added into the actual reported Debt of $370M (2018) , then this rises to $402.1M, the highest Debt since 2013. Projected Debt to rise to almost three quarters of a BILLION dollars in the ten year plan.
2HR Free Parking in CBD has resulted in a significant loss of revenue.
Is the Core Business that makes our City liveable being neglected?
According to Statistics NZ, HCC non-core spending is approximately 40% of total rate income, while the NZ average council spend is approximately 17%.
Core spending must surely be the priority? We all know the effects if roads and sewage systems are not built or maintained, leaves are not being swept up causing drain blockages, footpaths in the CBD are dirty.
FREE Bus rides for everyone. Ratepayers pay, therefore they are not free. (This item is Not in 10 Year Plan)
Proposals to build a walking bridge over the Waikato River to the CBD. (Not in 10 Year Plan)
Is there Frivolous spending of YOUR Money?
Fences built and handed to Council to maintain – Ratepayers paying for the maintenance. (Not in 10 Year Plan)
Claudelands Bridge makeover. The costs have not been divulged and how does this bring more shoppers into the City.
The Mayor using his casting vote to spend Ratepayers money on Victoria Street buildings well in excess of the registered valuation.
Multi-million spend proposed on viaducts for Peacocks Roading Development East-West corridor, when other less costly options appear to have been discarded.
Given the examples above, we agree with the Councillor that the HCC has a SPENDING PROBLEM,
VOTE for Candidates who will communicate the facts to the Community.