Households bear brunt of increase
Rates: The budget proposes an average rates increase of 3.5 per cent a year, but new revaluations and a gradual lowering of business rates will lead to higher rates for households.
Household rates will rise on average by 5.6 per cent next year and 4.5 per cent thereafter.
About 126,000 households -- more than one in four -- face rate increases of more than 10 per cent next year, 25,000 households face increases of more than 20 per cent and 3738 households face 40 per cent-plus increases.
About 160,000 ratepayers will get a rates decrease. Business rates will fall from 32.8 per cent of total rates revenue to 25.8 per cent by 2025.
Tolls: A $2 motorway toll or increasing the fuel tax for Auckland motorists by 1.2c a year for 10 years from 2016 and raising rates by 0.9 per cent are being proposed to plug a $12 billion transport funding gap. Both options require the Government to pass legislation for new fuel taxes - and it remains sceptical.
Transport funding: If Aucklanders - and the Government - approve tolls or a fuel tax, the council can start a $9.8 billion capital spending programme on transport over the next 10 years. Otherwise, Auckland Transport will have to cut spending by $2.9 billion. Spending on walking and cycling will come almost to a halt. Public transport services will not improve after 2016 and there will be few roading improvements. But either way, the $2.5 billion City Rail Link will proceed late next year or in 2016. The Government says it will not start funding its share of the rail link until 2020. The project will not affect rates until it is opened, around 2023.
Service cuts: The council has backed off plans for $800 million of cuts to parks and community services, but the budget contains reductions in parks maintenance, such as less mowing and removal of street gardens that are expensive to maintain, standardisation of library hours and reduced spending on community development. Planning and policy work, environmental advisory work and education services will be trimmed.
If the public thought the Auditor General would step in and save them from the worst of the Brown NightMayor that is besieging Auckland they were disappointed yesterday. Apart from reiterating her warning that the ratepayers of Auckland will have to find even more money from rates, taxes and tolls to pay for the useless CRL project she had little else to add. The Councillors then voted in the 10 year budget which will mean bigger rates rises than ever and even these will not be enough to pay for this single project when costs start to balloon out of sight.
Consultation is mere costly window dressing. By 'households' Orsman means 'ratepayers'. Unless some organisation is formed to represent those who actually foot the bill, the ratepayers, and they band together to say NO, then Auckland’s NightMayor will continue ad infinitum.