Coun­cil man­ag­ing pri­or­i­ties well

Power and in­surance costs rise faster than rates in past decade

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL FEATURES - TONY LEP­PER

have spent count­less hours par­tic­i­pat­ing in and ob­serv­ing or­di­nary peo­ple make sen­si­ble de­ci­sions on your be­half. De­ci­sions on up­grad­ing in­fras­truc­tural as­sets like roads or search­ing for af­ford­able so­lu­tions for water and waste­water. I have also seen an end­less stream of in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions coming to coun­cil try­ing to get us to sup­port projects that they say the com­mu­nity can not do with­out. Th­ese de­ci­sion-mak­ers, the ones you elected, are of­ten crit­i­cised for be­ing ‘‘too old’’,’’ too male’’ or not ‘‘busi­nesslike’’. Easy rocks to throw from peo­ple who do not come and watch the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process. A process that is search­ing, well thought through and in­clu­sive of the is­sues, like af­ford­abil­ity, that face ratepay­ers. My im­pres­sion is that a bunch of busi­ness­peo­ple in ‘‘swanky suits’’ would make sim­i­lar de­ci­sions, be­cause th­ese de­ci­sions are the ones that need to be made on your be­half. What peo­ple seem to for­get is that coun­cils are not driven by profit, it is about col­lect­ing enough money to pay the bills and we spend 90 per cent of our funds within the district. While we may not think like a profit-driven busi­ness we are cer­tainly busi­nesslike in our ap­proach. A re­cent sur­vey car­ried out by the Red Cross in­di­cated that many of you were wor­ried about the con­tin­ued rise in the cost of rates (84 per cent on my prop­erty in the past 10 years), a few of you were con­cerned about the in­crease in the cost of power (117 per cent) and none of you men­tioned the in­crease in in­surance pre­mi­ums (140 per cent). All of th­ese in­dus­tries face the same dilemma of age­ing in­fra­struc­ture and paying for its re­place­ment but the coun­cil is the easy one to crit­i­cise be­cause we are vis­ual and we are lo­cal. Peo­ple al­ways want coun­cil to sup­port Tourism and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, to sup­ply the best pos­si­ble water or the best gravel roads. But no one wants rates rises. Well this is the year to do some­thing about it. 2013 is elec­tion year so get in­volved, but bring your hard hat be­cause there are no easy so­lu­tions.

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