The question will soon come “Are you going to raise our rates?”
It’s not a straight answer - because the Mayor doesn’t set the rates - but the Mayor can fight hard to hold them down.
The segment below comes from the Council website (with some highlighted words from me):
Each year, the council’s budget sets out the amount of rates needed to keep Auckland running. Once the budget is set, we need to work out how much each ratepayer should pay. Your rates bill is determined by a number of factors. One of these is your property’s value, which we figure out through the revaluation process. Other factors that help determine how much you pay in rates include the amount of money required to run the city, and how much income we receive from other sources.
There is a single very important part to the above that will help us to hold the rates - The Budget.
It’s often touted that the Council property valuation sets the rates, but it only plays one part. Now while I know I have nothing to do with property values, I can be a huge voice and thorn in the side of the number crunchers when it comes to the setting of the budget.
It’s simple math: If we spend less we don’t need to raise so much. (Although currently there are some budget blowouts that are going to cause heated debates in the chambers)...
Given there are so many budget blowouts, it makes it even more prudent to not focus solely on how to raise more funds (such as rates or selling assets), but instead to focus on where to spend less.
There is no doubt that within each Council department, that runs on its own allocated budget each year, that they are doing their best to show themselves as being frugal and careful with our funds - but I’m skeptical. The reason for my skepticism is that I have seen and heard all too many times in other situations, “it’s not my money” …. You know where I’m going with that.
I remember back to my engineering days, when purchasing consumables, stock, tools etc, I always did my homework on the suppliers pricing, and I always treated the budget as though it was coming out of my own pocket. It’s not that hard to do, but I think it gets lost on a lot of people.
Spends need to be justified, and scrutinised - brutally. Remember that department budgets, no matter what the entity, are often set by the entity supplying information back to the distributors, so it becomes a vicious circle.
“We need this much”
“Ok here it is”
So, back to the rates question. The answer is as previously said, that I will fight hard to hold them down by being brutal with the overall spending.