Mayor Goff’s Budget Proposal to Ease Ratepayer Burden

What Burden?

 

Per law Mayor Goff needs to release an interim budget document by the end of this year setting out his priorities of revenue and expenditure until the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan goes live in July 2018.

This is what Goff has to say:

Mayoral proposal eases ratepayer burden by restricting rate rises and raising new revenue

Mayor Phil Goff has today released a plan to restrict rate rises and raise significant new revenue while restraining borrowing and supporting underpaid and vulnerable Aucklanders.

The proposed consultation items include restricting the annual average rate rise to 2.5% and addressing Auckland’s need for extra revenue to support growth with the proposed introduction of a visitor levy, a targeted rate for new large-scale developments and a regional fuel tax.

“Ratepayers have shouldered the responsibility for the growth of our city and cannot be expected to continue to do that on their own. This proposal shares that responsibility more fairly across all of those who benefit from living and doing business in our city,” says Phil Goff

The Mayoral proposal delivers on Phil Goff’s commitment to restrict rate rises.

“I made a commitment to restrict the annual average rate rise to 2.5%, down from 3.5%, and that is what this proposal delivers.”

The proposal also implements the Mayor’s commitment to a Living Wage for Council employees and contributes an additional $500,000 to co-ordinating work to support homeless Aucklanders.

“This proposal puts the people of this city first by taking a responsible and fair approach to tackling Auckland’s growth challenges, and seeking to support those who most need help to live a decent life in our city,” says Phil Goff.

The proposal also notes significant work is underway at Auckland Council to find efficiencies across the Group.

“We are taking a responsible fiscal approach by ensuring that Auckland Council is more efficient and delivers value for money while finding innovative ways to raise extra revenue to support growth.

“Accommodation providers and other businesses benefit most directly from the funding Council puts into attracting visitors to the city and supporting major events.  That is why I am proposing a new visitor levy to be collected by hotels, motels and B&Bs to replace ratepayer spending by ATEED in this area.

“We are also ensuring that we remain well within the Council’s debt cap to avoid a potential credit downgrade which would force ratepayers to fund millions of dollars in extra interest costs,” says Phil Goff.

The Mayoral proposal is the forerunner to Auckland Council’s Annual Plan process and sets out a series of recommendations that are presented to the public for consultation.  The proposal promotes the following initiatives:

  • Raising up to $30 million from a new visitor levy to replace ratepayer funding currently spent on attracting visitors and supporting major events.
  • Introducing a targeted rate for new large-scale developments to pay for major new infrastructure, increase Auckland’s housing supply and discourage land-banking
  • Seeking Government support to implement a regional fuel tax to help close the $400m gap in transport infrastructure funding identified by central government and Auckland Council under the Auckland Transport Alignment Project
  • Bidding for a significant share of the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund
  • Generating savings from efficiencies across the Auckland Council group
  • Introducing a Living Wage for Council employees
  • Contributing $500,000 to coordinating work to support homeless Aucklanders

 

“The initiatives that I’m promoting will require collaboration with central government, businesses and our communities. We want to work openly and honestly with all of our partners to make sure that Auckland is one of the world’s best performing cities.

“Given it is only four weeks since inauguration, there is still a lot of work to be done. Many of these initiatives will fall under the Long Term Plan but it is important to start consulting Aucklanders now,” said Phil Goff.

—ends—

 

The Finance and Performance Committee Agenda where the mayoral proposal sits:

 

The Annual Plan Timeline:

 

Interesting on the visitor levy

 

More on this tomorrow and Thursday.

 

budget

 

 

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