Auckland Council last week agreed it’s Emergency Budget 2020/2021.
As a result of the financial impact of COVID-19, and added financial pressure of ensuring Aucklander’s continue to have access to water due to a one in two hundred year drought, the budget deficit was forecast at three-quarters of a billion dollars.
The council agreed to an average general rates rise of 3.5 per cent, which ensures that despite the impact of lost revenue, critical council services such as keeping libraries open and investment in transport safety infrastructure among other things can continue.
Councillor for Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board area, Josephine Bartley explains that “the Emergency Budget was one of the most difficult conversations I have had to date, and one which no one wins.
“Throughout lockdown and now through economic upheaval, it is clear that our communities are struggling, yet the majority still saw the need for the rates increase because they didn’t want to lose services, and didn’t want to see transport and infrastructure projects put on hold.
Other budget decisions included:
- Offering assistance to ratepayers who are facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19
- Suspending the Accommodation Providers Targeted Rate until 31 March 20201
- Review of Auckland Council’s operating model and saving of $200 million across the council group
- Maintaining discretionary budgets for Local Boards to support local projects and initiatives
- Libraries hours and services to remain untouched.
“I would like to thank the community for the involvement in this consultation. We had record numbers of the community provide feedback, which really shows how important the decision was and how it affected everyone. I look forward to continuing this connection as we work together towards building a stronger Auckland.”