Huge rates increases for consultation

There’s disagreement among councillors over the draft plan. Photo: Supplied.

The public will get their chance to have their say about proposed rates increases for Tauranga City.

Documents supporting a Draft Long Term Plan calling for a 9.6 per cent rates increase this year and a 40 per cent increase over the next three years have been approved by Tauranga City Council today.

All councillors apart from Catherine Stewart supported the document going to public consultation, but Rick Curach and Steve Morris spoke out saying it wasn’t a good idea.

Rick says the 40 per cent in rates rises over the first three years of the plan are “way over the top”.

“I’m expecting to hear from the community whether it is supported or not. I would be quite surprised if there is a high degree of support. I would expect some resistance in terms of that demand.”

Steve Morris says the council has lacked leadership in terms of forming the budget.

“Nearly 40 per cent increase in rating requirements over three years? I think we should actually hang our heads in shame at that,” says Steve.

“I listened to what candidates said at the previous election just 18 months ago, I don’t think anybody out there put their hand up and said they would be happy with a 40 per cent increase in rating requirement over three years.

“When you consider the facts that Tauranga City is one of the highest rating metros in the country, you have the Auckland metro which is ahead of us, Porirua City and when you consider the myth perpetuated by some around this table that even the current level of rates is holding this city back.

“When you compare it to other cities around the country that’s certainly not the case. We don’t even do rubbish in this city, so I think  we all need to have a good hard  look at ourselves when  the community come back and give us our feedback.”

Steve says there is also a 28 per cent increase in council personnel expenses over next three years.

“I seem to remember a lot of debate from people sitting around this table after the previous council added an extra $10m for personnel because it was badly needed. Now we have got another 30 per cent increase, and there is silence around the table on that.

“It’s not good and I think we should actually be embarrassed.”

Catherine Stewart says the draft document is outrageous, and she will not support it.

“It’s not about voting to get re-elected. It’s having an awareness of what the majority of people in the community can afford,” says Catherine.

“I don’t want to see Tauranga becoming an elitist city for the rich where everyone pays huge rates. I think it’s unfair to gout with rates at this level.

“You can’t have everything and that is just a fact of life.”

She says the draft is financially unsustainable, and believes this is partly because the city council is being made to carry out activities that belong to central government.

“Resilience is a buzz word and it’s a great thing for consultants. Why we should be spending millions to make everyone feel safe when at the end of the day you can’t achieve that. It is about common sense and striking a balance.”

Terry Molloy says the city has been held back for so many years there is a bow wave in front of the council created he expects from councillors more concerned about keeping their seats than showing leadership.

“We have a lot of work to do in this community and it’s going to take a lot of money to take this city forward,” says Terry.

Councillor Leanne Brown says the draft plan is the start not the end of a process.

Mayor Greg Brownless says the decision also have to be made on basis of affordability.

“I think we are going to hear back from the community, I’m not sure the by election an indication of anything because of the sheer number.

“It’s no use pretending that the people will find the current proposal an easy thing to support,” says Greg. “We want to hear from everybody.

“How we take notice of the community that is going to be the important thing in the end.”


37 Comments

Councillors being reckless?

Posted on 03-04-2018 10:35 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Apparently the plan is to spend some $2.5 billion in the next 10 years on captial expenditure, including projects and other builds. That is a huge "wish list" that they are diving into... its more than the total rates for the same 10-year period. So the plan is to spend way more than have coming in, the only way to pay for all of that is to borrow. That means way more debt, way more rates, 40% in 3 years sounds like only the start of it.

@ groutby

Posted on 29-03-2018 03:20 | By MISS ADVENTURE

The application is made to teh Minister of Local Government, they wont decide anything much. The "ball" will be passed onto the Department of Internal Affairs and they will look into it and report back. Dont hold ya breath on that! One lot of officials looking at another lot to decide if they are naughty? Unlikely to happen in any sort of hurry. You have a recent example, kaipara, all had to get exceedingly desperate and well beyond in fact before anything at all happened. When it did the COuncil was in absolute dire straights. The result was that teh Commissioners double rates then some. That looks to be also Tauranga’s fate as well.

The

Posted on 26-03-2018 20:57 | By groutby

...to start the process to allow a Council to be run by the Commission seems a little ’blurred’...Quote: "Reorganisation Application submitted"...from who?..group? indivuidual?..anyone know before it’s to late?

@ Mein Fuhrer

Posted on 25-03-2018 12:37 | By MISS ADVENTURE

With a handle like that, wouldnt you just match them out the door to the firing squad? Otherwise and very sadly they wont have a referendem on yes or no to their own incompetnce and failures. Denial and head remaining in the clouds is sooooo much nicer. The only option ratepayers have x2 are: election time each three years and the Minister of Local Government can sack them and erplace with Commissioners.

can we just sack them all

Posted on 21-03-2018 08:42 | By Mein Fuhrer

with a unanimous vote of no confidence?

Rreally spending!!

Posted on 16-03-2018 17:47 | By MISS ADVENTURE

There is no holding back, common sense left chambers years ago and here we are... massive debt and then unavoidable rate increases. This is apparently form a mob who promised so much and have failed to delivery anything is merit other than digging a very deep hole of debt.

@ Reality_Check

Posted on 15-03-2018 21:35 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Staff numbers were perhaps 300 odd ten years ago (HQ - CBD) maybe some 550 when you include all the massive loss making attachemnts also like TBOP, Priority One, (Lacking) Smartgrowth, BOPLASS, BVL and others. These numbers would be some 700 odd now (CBD-HQ) and another some 500 others scattered around the place in many a hiddy hole. So the costs overall have rising in less that ten years from around $22m to a predicted annual cost of say $75m. With all teh tech available and apparent and allegded smarts the numbers were meant to drop. But with many sweet heart deals and hooks in contracts the old addage of "You cant get me ... I’m part of the problem..." will continue until one day the Commissioners are appointed.

Wow they really are spending!!

Posted on 15-03-2018 18:08 | By jed

Check the long term plan. . . http://www.tauranga.govt.nz/council/council-documents/long-term-plans/long-term-plan-2015-2025By 2025 council want to increase annual rates income by 50% (51 million per year). And , because they are charging more rates they figure they can increase debt by 50% (62 million)!! This is during a probable low inflation period. Danger! Sharks in the area!And, primary spending (outside essential infrastructure) seems concentrated on making the CBD prettier and new council buildings.if you live in Mt Maunganui you are doubly smashed because you will pay for all these improvements but there is nothing in the long term plan for improving mt maunganui. This is an awful plan. People really need to make submissions on this!!

Council out of control...

Posted on 15-03-2018 15:11 | By jed

Not only have new house build permits leapt to 10’s of thousands of dollars , they have so many more people moving here contributing rates. So, even without any rates increases they must be pulling in a ton more cash. But, they want even more now. A 40% leap when inflation hovers around 1% is astounding.

Staffing Costs - 28% on what numbers now ?

Posted on 14-03-2018 12:15 | By Reality_Check

I suspect that the cutbacks that Leigh Auton brought in went shortly after his departure so would love to see the staffing numbers and costs both before and after the Leigh Auton restructure. I imagine that staffing has substantially increased further under the new management and so the 28% increase on current levels will herald a new staffing bill the likes of which I suspect noone could have envisioned. When the hidden staffing of the CCO’s and the contractors are taken into account it will be even more horrendous as these are common mechanisms by which staffing is reduced on paper.

@ Captain Sensible

Posted on 13-03-2018 21:20 | By MISS ADVENTURE

It’s much worse than that, they have tabled a dramatic dream world list of "nice to haves" that will double rates and have simply tabled a plan that cant possible fit all the desires in. After they have tested the public (pretending to public consult) and distracted most with lots of minor little things they will whack in the full monty of all the nice to have toys, set the ball rolling and "walk away" next election. Thats called "leadership" or perhaps "Good Governance" as how TCC staff want it.

Captain Sensible...

Posted on 13-03-2018 21:16 | By groutby

.....yes they do need to be replaced ASAP or slightly sooner..Statutory Management PLEASE!..at least for now...huge (for most) rate increases and we don’t even know what for!..grandiose Cliff Road museum project at the whim of the tangata whenua?, ..major new TCC palace?..major infrastucture issues?..don’t even mention roading here!..different councillors making different suggestions with NO unified direction at all..how long would a private business last doing this?..oh..forgot..the money keeps rolling on in anyway...UNBELIEVABLE..!

So the plan is obviously designed to create

Posted on 13-03-2018 18:34 | By earlybird

more homeless people. The cruise ship people obviously want to see more citizens living in shop doorways and on park benches. Come on TCC - 40%!! What planet are you on??

Coming Home to Roost

Posted on 13-03-2018 16:52 | By Reality_Check

In my view this is the result of the changes put into place by Leigh Auton back in 2013. We had new mangement come in and spend up, demolish the council building, and lose focus on the community needs. The papers at the time of Leigh Autons restructure stated "At the end of the day, there will be significant ongoing savings.". Hmmm - where are those savings - I just see poor management. We have the security guards permanently at TCC to protect staff - maybe from reality ? I think they are around $5500 per week. In my view things have been going down hill more noticeably since 2013 and this juncture we are now at was the inevitable endpoint. The roosting chickens will be here for quite some time for TGA ratepayers.

@Happyday

Posted on 13-03-2018 16:45 | By Told you

Agree with you entirely how are people on fixed incomes going to cope this is ludicrous 40% increase is almost criminal or extortion at best.These councillors need to go back to the drawing board and revise their figures as this not excepable.

replace these out-of-touch councillors

Posted on 13-03-2018 10:03 | By Captain Sensible

Could be that old trick of stating a 40% rise then after debate, reducing it to 25% and the ratepayers think they’ve won.... when 25% was secretly the plan all along. Greg Spineless and co are so far distanced from reality and the real world, they need to be replaced...asap.

Extortion

Posted on 13-03-2018 09:28 | By collydogz

40% rate increase. I dont think so. But I am not surprised. This council spends money like there is no tomorrow. One example is unnecessary roundabouts and all sorts of other obstacles in the middle of our roads. It would be a much better idea to cut costs by cutting down on the beauracracy. Our rates are too high now. I am interested to know where all the money is spent. And what happens to all the money they get from housing developments?

Time to stop wasting ratepayrer resources

Posted on 13-03-2018 09:16 | By tish

spoon feeding ever more recreational opportunities to a public that doesn’t need them and often doesn’t want them. Step back abd get on with properly administering the city and start by expecting people to make their own recreation like they always did before administrators took over managing every little thing and expecting everyone to pay for it. Sacking the people who come up with stupid ideas like raising rates 40% would be a good step forward.

criminal negligence

Posted on 13-03-2018 08:38 | By Captain Sensible

What a bunch of out-of-touch clowns in TCC. I have had to work longer hours for zero salary rise since 2006. Many people in the same boat. This is criminal negligence on the part of TCC.

Give back our gst

Posted on 13-03-2018 07:59 | By Johnney

If the government returned our gst (a tax on tax) we would be 15% better off for starters. Lets have an inquiry!!!

Aye

Posted on 12-03-2018 20:52 | By Told you

You have got to be joking me 40% over next 3 years what planet are you on this totally out of order, get real and do more homework..

Disgraceful

Posted on 12-03-2018 20:15 | By maildrop

What a total cluster. The tail is wagging the dog if the Council staff think they can just add 30% to the staff budget. Molloy and co need to clear off. They are dreamers.

40% increase in rates?

Posted on 12-03-2018 19:32 | By Val.M

Sorry, but cannot support that! My benefit when it does get an increase, is minuscule considering the steep rise in prices. But your suggestion of 40% is way over the top! It would just give us less money to buy necessities like food, and am already on a very basic food plan!

Rate Increase

Posted on 12-03-2018 18:49 | By barbiedoll

OMG, who/what does Tauranga City Council think we are. There is no way the average worker, getting 0% or if lucky 1.2% wage increase can afford a rates increase of that magnitude, even spread over 3 years. Time to think again Councillors of what is necessary to the region, and not whats on the ’wish’ list. You have major fixits to do - infrastructure of the region - not museums and art gallery. Think carefully before you cause ratepayers more suffering. Barb

The voices of reason

Posted on 12-03-2018 18:35 | By nerak

on council are far too few. Have we just 3 councillors with empathy for their ratepayers? Steve Morris is quite right when he says we should actually hang our heads in shame at that (40% increase over next 3 yrs) And we should actually be embarrassed re a 30% increase in personnel, that is reprehensible. Catherine, you are so very right, its having an awareness of what the majority of people in the community can afford. Are the rest of you hard of hearing? Too right Mr Mayor, the decision has to be made on the basis of affordability. And I know too many who cannot afford these preposterous proposed increases. I certainly won’t have income rising by these percentages!

Dreams

Posted on 12-03-2018 18:28 | By MISS ADVENTURE

becoming reality means lots of rates bills of course.

Big spenders

Posted on 12-03-2018 18:22 | By MISS ADVENTURE

All had to come home to roost, obviously a lot faster than even dreamed of but unavoidable.

Bloody hell

Posted on 12-03-2018 18:19 | By astex

Talk about all the pigeons coming home to roost. Hundreds of us are already struggling to keep up with costs and this bunch of clowns have now proved that they have either lost control of the finances or simply don’t care. It is definitely time for the government to step in and sort this bunch out. Forget all the grandiose schemes and actually help the people that you are supposed to represent. It is OUR money that you are spending without any thought whatsoever. Watch the mortgagee sales soar when this hits us and the banks have to pay the rates arrears.

Funding Frenzy

Posted on 12-03-2018 17:03 | By paul

If it’s not the TECT Trustees trying to steal consumers money it’s the TCC. Where do they come up with these outrageous rate increases? If they wish to fund their pet projects it’s time to source it from somewhere else - not ratepayers. I continue to be frustrated by TCC who think the ratepayer is a bottomless pit. If they were running a non rate-payer funded business, they would be out of a job. Staffing numbers should be reducing, not increasing with all the technology available these days.

MADNESS!!!!

Posted on 12-03-2018 16:57 | By AndyCap

My salary has increased by 6% over the last 4 years, and my wife’s wage has increased by 2.5% over the past 5 years. All in our family simply can no longer afford to live in Tauranga and plan to sell up for somewhere more affordable. Our children are locked out of the property market, and find themselves as slaves to the astronomical rents and wasted travel time on the road going to school and sports. The Tauranga lifestyle is gone for those that are not a part of the elite test group that run Tauranga.This council, and those before have failed this city over and over again. My biggest gripe is that they fail to accept any responsibility whatsoever, and put everything down to unexpected and rapid growth.

OK so

Posted on 12-03-2018 16:39 | By Bop man

Where do I get this additional 40% pull it out of my arse or what. Maybe the councilors should try living on 40-50k a year or less and see how they survive. Absolute B.S.

Councillors need drug testing

Posted on 12-03-2018 16:32 | By gincat

"liveable city" what does that mean.Do we really need the new "Palace" admin block?City rents will certainly increase.Businesses will be hit harder,Live within yours means.Will be another cleanout of councillors 2019 I suspect

You must be joking!

Posted on 12-03-2018 16:19 | By Raeleen

We’d be lucky if our pension went up 4% in that time, where do they think those on fixed incomes will get the money from. We have to live within our means and so should the city!

oh C'mon

Posted on 12-03-2018 15:52 | By shapes

Not everyone in Tauranga is on the huge wage Mr shiny shoes Bridges is. Focus on the bloody basics and prove you can do that properly before throwing money around like a middle eastern oil tycoon. This place is turning into a literal dump. Fix the recycling issue and amount of rubbish in our streets. Then transport! People dying on our crap roads and you want a museum? Common sense! put rates up and buy some of that for once.

Crazy land

Posted on 12-03-2018 15:26 | By MISS ADVENTURE

The spending outagiously is all coming home to roost and some, the punters (ratepayers are going to have to stand up, speak and be heard of financially they will be crippled and taken out. Obviously these Councillors (most) have no idea of management or governance, they are indeed out of control.

Fantasy Island.

Posted on 12-03-2018 15:20 | By kiwisan

Did I read this correctly? 40% over 3 years! What fantasy world do you exist in ? Sort yourselves out!

Affordability???

Posted on 12-03-2018 15:04 | By Happyday

How the council expect people on fixed incomes to afford these kinds of rate increases beggars belief. They seem to have lost sight of ordinary mortals, ie solo parents, retirees, one income families etc. Come down from your ivory towers and see how the other half tries to live; we are not made of money.

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