More to the Council Finances than Bernard’s Holes
I notice our resident Herald journalist Bernard Orsman has dropped another doom, gloom and sky is falling piece over the Council finances. One good thing about this blog is that it acts as a digital archive to previous commentary and pressers on Auckland (or even other issues) that I have written previously.
With all the chatter suddenly about the Council finances owing to the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan coming up for further deliberation and public consultation (I really hate that word) I went back over the blog looking at previous budget or financial commentary. Sure enough I found some commentary, and reports from Council on both immediate finances and the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan.
A very fast summary: Our OPEX (operational expenditure) is fine with year on year figures either showing a neutral OPEX budget or more often a surplus OPEX budget. The CAPEX (so capital expenditure) is where we are running into issues and where hard decisions will need to be made. So please remember that when looking at the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan debate going on.
The Budget and Finances Redux
Some previous posts looking back at the budget situation leading to where we are now.
2015-2025 Long Term Plan to be debated
Just when you think submission and consultation sessions were over the Council goes and drops another round on the City. That said this one is well advertised so it has been coming for a while. Cue the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan – the master 10 year budget document that outlines Council revenue and expenditure for the next ten years.
Below are the agendas for the Budget Committee, and Finance and Performance Committee where aspects of the Long Term Plan will be discussed:
Note that post has the slides from the Chief Financial Officer outlining Council financials including the OPEX and CAPEX situation
Priorities in the Council Spend
As we approach consultation for the 2015 Long Term Plan (the master council budget document) (which will be early next year so we can breath for the moment) the question always get asked what are priorities Council should spend on. The answer usually is split two ways with one group advocating for “core services” (often the “far” right) and the other pushing for more social spending – that is arts, events, some sorts of welfare and so on. The Local Government Act 2002 outlines that Councils are given the “power of general competence” and does allow social spending if it benefits the community environment/well-being. So those who go on about core services (rates, roads, rubbish) I wonder if they understand the legislation or the complexity of local government governance and its responsibilities. Because if you take out the community/social aspect of spending decisions you are effectively doing half your job needed for a well-functioning city. A city is made up of both the physical and the social – not one and forget the other. Then again I wonder of attitudes of people especially towards others who go on about “core services.”
For me Core Services (so priority spending) are:
- Water (waste, storm and fresh)
- Transport (road, mass (public) and active (walking and cycling)
- Sanitation (your trash and recycling of residential, commercial and industrial waste)
- Community Facilities (community halls, senior citizen clubs, recreation centres, pools)
- Libraries and funding towards our Museums
- Public Toilets
- Urban Planning and Design Departments
- Comm’s – that is notifications and consultations (but does not include marketing)
Auckland Council “Investments” Performing Well
The Mayor delivered a speech this morning to the Greater East Tamaki Business Association on Auckland’s Economy improving and set to boom. I will be getting a post up on that speech later. In the mean time you might have seen in the media this morning Port of Auckland, and Precinct Properties posting their results.
From Auckland Council on those results:
Auckland Set to Solve KEY Problems – Or is it?
In my “Auckland Economic Performance Improving #1” post I had posted a one liner right at the end stating: “That Auckland still has a way to go before its economic performance is where it should be.” And the City does have a way to go in boosting its economic performance. Addressing this concern about Auckland’s economic performance – as well as it lifting, Mayor Len Brown gave a speech to the Greater East Tamaki Business Association. The full speech notes can be found over at Bob Dey’s Property Report piece “Mayor talks earlier rail link, control over PPPs, the Auckland prospectus (Transforming Auckland’s economy: State of Auckland).”
We (the media) are still waiting for that property revaluation briefing that was postponed last month to happen so that updated commentary can be run on that front. As we know whatever your property is valued at is what your rates will be set at.
More on the budget commentary as it comes to hand.