Auckland Council’s 10-year Budget, open for submissions on 22 February, must strike a balance between economic recovery and sound financial management.
Manurewa-Papakura Ward councillors Angela Dalton and Daniel Newman say the budget is designed to help the city recover while the effects of COVID-19 are still being felt.
For Councillor Dalton, it’s about charting a path forward for Auckland while not losing sight of what is important locally.
“Councillors met early in the new year to talk about priorities for our wards, for the city, and to discuss the challenges COVID-19 continues to bring.
“Sound financial management is important, but we have to maintain the services Aucklanders rely on and support economic recovery locally and across the city.”
Consultation on the budget is open until 22 March and both councillors say it’s important a wide range of voices is heard.
Councillor Newman says the city faces a revenue drop at a time when there is critical work that must be done.
“I’d urge residents to get involved and tell us what is important to them, because there are going to have to be concessions when there are things we can’t keep putting off.
“Ignoring problems stores up issues for the future and means higher prices in the long-run.”
But both are conscious of the need to balance what must be done with residents’ ability to pay.
“We are mindful of the need to keep costs as low and fair as possible for ratepayers,” Councillor Newman says.
The 10-year Budget commits to an average 3.5 per cent general rates increase over the decade but with a one-off 5 per cent increase in the next financial year. That would mean a $1 million urban property’s rates would rise $135 a year.
Their concerns are echoed by the chairs of the Papakura and Manurewa Local Boards.
Papakura chair Brent Catchpole says the 10-year Budget is critical for the area.
“It’s our communities that are growing and facing the challenges that brings. We have to speak up and let the decision-makers know what we believe is best for our area.”
Manurewa’s Joseph Allan says the boards share common interests, notably their strong environmental focus, desire for better transport links and to helping business and local communities recover from COVID-19.
“It is important that residents speak up about their priorities because the decisions made around the budget will impact on what we can deliver locally.”
Consultation on the 10-year Budget is open now and closes on 22 March. You can have your say by visiting akhaveyoursay.co.nz.