Councillor Cameron Brewer has issued a media statement criticising the Mayor’s proposals as socking it to ‘mum and dad’ business owners.
The many Auckland businesses sitting on properties with CVs worth between $750,000 to $2 million are set to see their Transport Targeted Rate go up 145% from $183 to $450 each year if Len Brown gets his way, warns Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer in response to the Mayoral Proposal on the 2016/17 Annual Plan released today.
“When a few of us pushed for the level and composition of the Transport Targeted Rate to be reviewed during the 10-year budget, I never anticipated that the Mayor would respond by just socking small and medium-sized businesses. They’re Auckland’s bread and butter. At the time nine out of 19 of us voted for the organisation to find more of the money within, not just put the hand out to the business community.
“Moving from a fixed amount to a sliding scale for businesses dependent on property value needs to be interrogated by businesses and representative associations before council signs off this 2015/16 budget mid-next year. This of course comes on top of the recent LTP decision to delay the council’s target of narrowing the business rating differential by another 14 years to 2036/37,” he says.
Mr Brewer is pleased the Uniform Annual General Charge is up for review, with an increase of the fixed component of household rates long overdue.
“The Mayor’s now calling for rating stability but that hasn’t been a concern for him over the past five years when his low UAGC stung Auckland’s higher valued properties. The public now needs to take the opportunity and have their say on the UAGC.”
On debt, Mr Brewer says annual interest rate payments on group debt will increase from over $400m to close to three-quarters of a billion dollars over the coming decade, limiting future generations on project options as more and more revenue goes to servicing debt.
“I accept debt is inevitable, but unlike household mortgage debt most of council’s assets are not ever realisable, our interest commitments will double not halve over time, and the principal won’t be paid off anytime soon.”
On assets, Mr Brewer says it’s disappointing the council’s $500,000 recent asset review is not even mentioned and needs to be as the public will want to have their say and make suggestions next year.
He describes the ‘Myth Busting’ references throughout today’s Mayoral Proposal as purely political and churlish.
“This is all very defensive and unnecessary. The likes of rating and debt levels are genuine concerns out there among our ratepayers, resident associations, business and community groups. These kind of important issues will form the basis of next year’s local body elections. They shouldn’t be dismissed as myths,” says Cameron Brewer.