Big spending cuts on coun­cil agenda

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

Ma­jor cuts are be­ing sig­nalled in Auck­land City Coun­cil’s bud­get for the next fi­nan­cial year.

Tough de­ci­sions will have to be made in or­der to keep rates in check, says fi­nance and strat­egy com­mit­tee chair­man Doug Arm­strong.

“We’re go­ing to have to ex­am­ine ev­ery line of ex­pen­di­ture.

“It’s not go­ing to be easy and not every­one’s go­ing to be happy,” Mr Arm­strong says.

The ma­jor­ity Cit­i­zens & Ratepay­ers ticket cam­paigned on a prom­ise to hold rate in­creases at coun­cil’s rate of inflation, last year 5.1 per­cent.

The pre­vi­ous coun­cil had fore­cast a rates hike of more than 10 per­cent in the 20092010 fi­nan­cial year.

Mr Arm­strong says at least $20 mil­lion will need to be cut from op­er­at­ing ex­pen­di­ture to bring the in­crease down.

Cuts and changes will be re­quired in the coun­cil’s 10year plan as well.

“We’ve got to do it to fol­low through on our elec­tion man­i­festo,” Mr Arm­strong says.

Ear­lier re­ports on pos­si­ble cuts to as­set man­age­ment plans have al­ready caused con­tro­versy.

Projects and ser­vices un­der threat in­clude Avon­dale’s pro­posed $15m pub­lic pool.

Mr Arm­strong says it’s too early to com­ment on what projects could be cut.

“We won’t be mak­ing any pro­nounce­ments about what’s in or out at this stage.”

Pa­pers from chief ex­ec­u­tive David Rankin are to be re­leased to­day set­ting out the coun­cil’s fi­nances for the com­ing year.

The pa­pers were orig­i­nally due out on Tues­day.

Coun­cil­lors will be­gin bud­get talks at di­rec­tion set­ting meet­ings on Oc­to­ber 7 and Novem­ber 18.

Doug Arm­strong

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