Auckland Council’s governing body voted today for a rates increase that will average 9.9% for residential ratepayers including a flat $99 residential & $159 business (plus gst) interim transport levy.
Mayor Len Brown introduced the transport levy last month at the final budget committee meeting for debating content of the annual budget and the council’s 10-year plan. It replaced 2 options, a fuel tax & motorway tolls, proposed in consultation but rejected by the Government.
The interim levy is to be in place for 3 years.
Most of today’s debate was on the long-term plan, which was up for its first 3-yearly review and included the new transport levy. Central to the debate was whether the transport levy was a legitimate targeted rate. Consultation documents mentioned it as a possible addition to whichever of the fuel tax & toll options was preferred, but submitters overlooked it almost entirely. Cllr John Watson said it drew submissions from only 39 people, out of a total 27,300 submissions.
Cllr Cameron Brewer offered one alternative last month and again today – clawing $30 million out of existing opex budgets – and adding to that a $58.99/ratepayer flat rate, to be imposed in the 2016-17 financial year. It was defeated 10-9 today.
Cllr Brewer also lost his attempts to put a vote of no confidence in the mayor as chairman of the budget committee – ruled out of order as part of an amendment by the mayor, who said the appointment of committee chairs was his prerogative, and then on standing orders, because when Cllr Brewer tried to move it separately he was told standing orders allowed him to move only one amendment to a motion.
The council voted 10-9 for a review of a number of financial issues in the next financial year, then voted 13-6 for the rates set for the financial year starting next Wednesday.
Mr Brown invited Auditor-general Lyn Provost to the council meeting to clarify points on the possibility of the long-term plan being defeated, and also got a long list of serious consequences from chief financial officer Sue Tindal.
Cllr Wayne Walker said he’d be at the head of the queue to amend the long-term plan at the start of the new financial year by dropping the transport levy.
Attribution: Council meeting.