Otago Daily Times

The more things change — same old story, DCC

- Dunedin · Christchurch · Reading · Otago Region

THE Dunedin City Coun­cil to ex­am­ine its debt limit op­tions (ODT, 9.11.20) — pre­lim­i­nary bud­gets de­vel­oped for the draft 10­year plan show be­tween $1.3 bil­lion and

$1.5 bil­lion of to­tal cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture could be needed.

It would be a good time to look back at an Otago Daily Times edi­to­rial headed ‘‘The rates bur­den’’ to see if any thing at the DCC has changed (ODT, 30.1.06):

‘‘Enough is enough. Dunedin’s rates can­not keep ris­ing ahead of in­fla­tion and be­yond what many on lower in­comes can af­ford.

‘‘The lat­est news that the draft rate in­crease for the next fi­nan­cial year is 4.9%, with 12% in store for the fol­low­ing year, comes af­ter a long line of in­ex­orable rises.

‘‘Ex­pected also are an­other se­ries of 5% hikes planned, along with bor­row­ing, to help pay for big ticket items.

‘‘These com­pound­ing in­creases have ac­com­pa­nied bal­loon­ing debt, higher draw­ings from coun­cil­owned com­pa­nies and higher or ex­panded user charges. Ev­ery way ratepay­ers look, the past 10 years have been bleak for the city’s bal­ance sheet and the pock­ets of its res­i­dents, and 10 years ahead will be even worse.’’ Fur­ther on in the edi­to­rial:

‘‘The coun­cil, of­ten at the last hour, has gone back to the coun­cilowned com­pa­nies’ well for ex­tra cash to ame­lio­rate the rates in­crease. This prac­tice is ever more dan­ger­ous for soon coun­cil profli­gacy will un­der­mine the abil­ity of its com­pa­nies to re­fresh the well and cre­ate fu­ture prof­its, just as the Christchur­ch City Coun­cil hurt its port com­pany by its de­mands.

‘‘While some of the ideas of Cr Lee Van­dervis for ar­rest­ing the trend are ques­tion­able, as he him­self ad­mits, at least he has put out a chal­lenge to ex­am­ine root and branch what coun­cil does with its plans.’’

As the song goes, ‘‘When will they ever learn?’’

Brian Miller

East Taieri ..................................

BI­BLE READ­ING: All who wor­ship the Lord, now praise him! — Psalms 22:23.

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