Otago Daily Times

The more things change — same old story, DCC


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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