This year’s budget adoption process has been a tough one. Mayor Phil Goff says it was one of the most difficult budgets in the council’s history due to the challenges presented by the financial impact of COVID-19 and, prompted by the current drought, the need to invest in new water infrastructure to reduce the risk of acute water shortages and restrictions in the future.
Around sixty per cent of the revenue we collect to pay for the services Aucklanders need comes from revenue other than rates. This includes public transport fares, water charges and our Auckland Airport share dividend, all of which are forecast to significantly reduce this year.
Despite these revenue drops, and while maintaining average general rates increases at 3.5 per cent, we have been able to ensure there won’t be too many changes to the essential services we provide. This includes libraries being kept open as normal and discretionary funding being maintained for local boards.
The key decisions made in the Emergency Budget include:
- Addressing the twin challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the drought by using all four of the levers available to us including additional borrowings, spending reductions, project deferrals, and asset recycling.
- Seeking to help ratepayers who are facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 by providing a new rates postponement option, in addition to our existing support mechanisms.
- Suspending the Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate until 31 March 2021
More information on all the Emergency Budget decisions can be found on our website.