Costly cut­ting

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Hir­ing a con­sul­tant for $100,000 could help Porirua City Coun­cil save $6.5 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a group ded­i­cated to cut­ting coun­cil costs.

The coun­cil has in­cluded the Porirua Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Group’s (PEDC) pro­posal in its draft An­nual Plan, though it re­quired mayor Nick Leggett to use his cast­ing vote to break a 7-7 dead­lock at a meet­ing last Wed­nes­day.

The pub­lic will have an op­por­tu­nity to com­ment on the pro­posal.

PEDC chair­man Peter Davies says in 2003 the coun­cil paid its em­ploy­ees $11m, whereas that sum is now more than $20m.

Staff salaries gob­ble half Porirua’s rates in­come, he says.

Porirua’s high rates re­pel busi­ness and put off the very res­i­dents Porirua is try­ing to at­tract to the city: young fam­i­lies, empty nesters and re­tirees, all of whom are cost-con­scious, he says.

The five-mem­ber PEDC aims to make coun­cil ser­vices bet­ter value for money, and to make Porirua more af­ford­able and live­able.

Coun­cil­lor Euon Mur­rell en­dorsed PEDC’s plan, say­ing the coun­cil had in­ves­ti­gated its costs four years ago but few sav­ings had been made.

‘‘Some­thing has to change. It’s a ques­tion of hav­ing the po­lit­i­cal will or the courage to change,’’ Cr Mur­rell said.

Coun­cil­lor Ken Dou­glas said Mr Davies’ pro­posal ig­nored im­prove­ments to lo­cal government ser­vices over the past decade, while Bron­wyn Kropp said the tim­ing of the pro­posal was off.

PCC chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son had been in his job less than three years and was still im­ple­ment­ing ef­fi­cien­cies, she said.

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