What can we believe?
Cast your minds back to the KapiMana News edition of April 3; the middle page spread telling us about the council’s Long Term Plan clearly stated the intent to spend $19 million on a city centre revitalisation.
For those who attended the Pauatahanui public discussion on the plan, you might remember that our mayor said then the plan was to spend $15m on the revitalisation.
We now read on July 3 that the plan is to spend $23.8m but that would appear to be misinformation provided to the journalist.
Page 94 of the draft plan clearly shows that the original intention of [the] council was to spend $30.355m and provide $257,000 for depreciation.
The final plan is to spend $30.089m and provide $4.571m in depreciation.
Our councillors have also said that they had decided to limit rates income increases in the Long Term Plan to the movement in the consumer price index (2.4 per cent planned for years two and three) plus growth in the city’s rating base.
However, in his introduction, the chief executive states that the average rates increase in years two and three (excluding rating base growth) will be 3 per cent and 2.9 per cent.
All other years have similar discrepancies – equating to $17m in rates being charged beyond the councillors’ self-imposed limit.
I have asked the chief executive and all councillors to explain how this discrepancy can be accepted but the only councillor to try to understand was Councillor Seiuli and he was told by the chief executive that he need not be concerned by it.
So, our council misleads us about the cost of the city centre revitalisation, perhaps knowing very few will take the time to read a 300-page document and our councillors are content to misrepresent the impact on ratepayers.
What else can’t we believe? How many of our elected representatives think they have demonstrated the skills needed to warrant re-election? If this blatant disregard for hard-earned ratepayer money is to cease it will take more than just me standing against them next year.
BRIAN COLLINS, Papakowhai PCC chief executive Gary Simpson responds: Mr Collins has misread my introduction in the LTP which clearly states that the forecast average rate increases of 3 per cent for year two and 2.9 per cent for year three of the plan is made up of CPI plus growth in the rating base.
Mr Collins, in his statements about rates, loses sight of the process that [the] council has followed. [The] Council consulted with its ratepayers, explaining how it had arrived at an average rate increase for year one of 3.2 per cent. It has since transpired that the actual average rate increase for year one following consideration of public submissions will be 3.4 per cent and the reasons for the increase of 0.2 per cent are outlined in the final version of the LTP and also in the media.
Later in the year when the council considers the Annual Plan for the 2013/14 financial year, it will have to decide whether it applies the stated average increase of 3 per cent or use the agreed means to calculate the rate increase of the CPI plus growth in the rating base. It will make this decision prior to the consultation stage of the Annual Plan, which means that the average increase could change in response to those submissions when the Annual Plan is adopted.
Mr Collins further questions what residents can believe about the LTP and the best response to this question comes from the auditor-general, who is responsible for providing independent advice to the council on the LTP and who issued an unqualified audit report which stated that the city council has complied with requirements of the Act in all material respects demonstrating good practice for a council of its size and scale within the context of its environment.
The LTP was adopted with sound fiscal policies based on affordable service levels which maintain the character of the city and preserve those features which consultation and independent surveys have told us residents value highly. trumpet and ukulele), ably supported by Reuben Bradley (drums), Mostyn Cole (bass) and Fran Barton (vocals), explored an amazing range of music with a jazz twist, starting from early last century, and embracing light orchestral, quirky, pop, Latin American and romantic.
The exploration was with typical energy, verve and virtuosity, displaying a wide range of styles, moods and interpretations. The concert was held on Saturday, July 7, and an enthusiastic audience filled the Mana Little Theatre studio at Plimmerton.
NEIL AITKEN, Camborne