Local Services or Centralised Services – That is the Question
On Monday I had written the LOCAL BOARD SERVICE PROVISIONS FALTER post which included photos about our Local Boards and communities suffering from scarce funding and either lack of or poor civic service provision from Council contractors:
Just recently Manurewa Local Board Chair – Angela Dalton posted some rather sad pictures on the state of affairs in regards to maintenance to civic places like parks and berms in Manurewa. I’ll let the photos do the talking here:
Now after Angela had posted the photos, the Council contractor raced out with the mowers to err trim the grass – and leave it all behind (which would have made great hay for my chickens) (oh and miss the edges too). However as the Manurewa and Papakura Local Boards will attest to, service provisions for these Local Boards from the main Council and its contractors who look after civic places has basically fallen off a cliff. And these Local Board Service Provision stories I keep seeing on Facebook due to either Local Boards facing cuts in their budgets to fund provisions or services, or super city amalgamation being a catalyst to decrease in either services or quality of services are appearing time and time again.
You can read the rest of the article by hitting the link above.
After I had posted the original article’s links into Facebook along with a question to Communities and Residents, this reply came back from the Deputy Chair of the Orakei Board (a note to readers, I am not a member or affiliated to C&R):
Would Communities and Residents support a methodology change into how our Local Boards are funded and how local service provisions are catered for?
Real Local Democracy and Local Services or a Soviet Style Centralist Nightmare from the Main Council?
- Mark Thomas Sounds like great idea Ben. The Mayor is convening a political working party of councillors and LB members to develop a “fairer” local board funding policy, but defining what “fair” is will be the most challenging part.
- Ben Ross Sounds like good news from the Mayor, Mark. Will be interested to see what comes from this Political Working Party although the word “political” brings the cynical side out in me ;) You able to keep us updated on how the working party progresses please? Could have a major influence on the Local Boards after the elections next year
So it seems the Mayor IS convening a working party to discuss “fairer” Local Board funding policies and probably how Local Board Service Provisions are provided for. It will be a case of wait and see how this all turns out and how this will impact the Local Boards after next year’s Local Government Elections.
And that brings me to the question I want readers to ponder over when it comes to Local Board Service Provisions.
The question is:
Do you want the status quo as currently; or do you want something like bulk funding and increased “power” over your Local Board service provisions whether it be the method I suggest OR the method Jami-Lee Ross suggested. Which ever option you chose will be the option pushed to lobby the main Council/Governing Body!
The alternative options from MP Jami-Lee Ross and myself:
From Jami-Lee Ross
1) have a clear definition of what is local and what is regional
2) everything regional is funded from a general rate set by governing body. They are accountable for it.
3) everything local is funded from a local services targeted rate, funded from within that ward and kept within that ward. Local board set this targeted rate and are accountable for it. No cross subsidisation on local projects. Complete control for local boards when it comes to local issues. High spending local boards can spend whatever they want. Frugal local boards can likewise do so and not see their savings going back into the general pool.
This model would ring-fence local funding for local initiatives, but would still see regional infrastructures and services funded. It would empower local boards much more as well as demand greater accountability.
Bulk Funding the Local Boards goes like this. Orakei currently pays $106m in rates to the “Council” yet “Council” only gives $10m (about 10%) back to Orakei to run its Local Board and services. The proposal I am running with is Orakei pays $106m to “Council” and Council gives back (and that is a must, no if’s buts or maybes) 25-33% (up to Local Board’s decision on level) back to Orakei so Orakei can run and maintain its Local Community Services, Events plus any CAPEX spending as it sees fit (of course with dialogue with its residents and businesses).
The Governing Body can not touch the 33% as it is ring fenced to Local Boards. This also includes the Governing Body unable to hike the rates beyond 1.6x the rate of inflation at max with all spending spelled out per the current Better Local Government MK II Bill/Act/Paper
As I said in my earlier post about these options for Local Board Service Provisions: I will go look into these ideas some more and get back to you (which I have with the update from Mark Thomas). However I am willing to run in my election to Papakura Local Board next year stating that; If elected to Papakura Local Board 2013, I will advocate and push for a full and frank discussion with the residents and businesses inside the Papakura Local Board area on Local Board Funding and Service Provision; advocating for the service and funding provision option they chose.
So go have a ponder and maybe a cup of tea or that coffee with your neighbour, shop-owner, friend, or others out there in your community on how you want your Local Board funded and services provided. It is your Local Board, your local community, your home, your place of business, your place of living, working or bringing up your family – your place you take pride in.
I am open to your constructive feed back so that an informed decision in advocating for Local Board Service Provision can be made.
Your Local Board, your local community, your home, your place of business, your place of living, working or bringing up your family – your place you take pride in.