Rate rise questioned
I attended a submission by the Porirua Economic Development Group to Porirua City Council’s draft annual plan on May 20, and found it very interesting.
A councillor asked about the impact that better budget control may have on staff numbers at Porirua City Council.
In 2000, the council had a ratio of one fulltime employee to every 178 residents. By 2011 this had changed to one fulltime employee to every 123 residents.
I do not know what ratio is best, but this trend is unsustainable. Councillors’ obligations should be to encourage all employment within Porirua, so long as they are long-term jobs based on efficiency and effectiveness.
Another councillor asked about our use of the Consumer Price Index and the Wages Index and suggested that the Local Body Price Index would be more appropriate.
Councillors should first represent residents’ interests.
Regardless of other factors, the Wage Index and Consumer Price Index reflect the ability of residents and businesses to pay rates.
Just because the Government gives wider responsibility to the council, this should not translate into the unsustainable rates increases we have had since 2000.
Councillors should stand up to the Government on behalf of residents and say that they will not increase rates above the ability of residents to pay.
In 2012 a Porirua City Council homeowner paid 22 per cent more rates to the Porirua council than the owner of a house in Tawa of similar value paid to the Wellington council. That needs to be addressed.
It should also be noted that Wellington finalised residential increases at 2.3 per cent for the upcoming year while Porirua is proposing 5.3 per cent.
Good on Tim Sheppard for questioning the proposed rise in rates and asking questions.