25 May 2024

Council to consider cut in services, proposes 19.9% rates increase

Hamilton City Council is proposing rates increases in the first five years of the Long-Term Plan of 19.9% and will also consider reduced levels of community and back office services. This follows an elected member initiative to cut staff and consultancy budgets.

The cuts are likely to mean reductions to the services that Council provides to the community, and its internal operations. The particular activities that could be removed or reduced would be identified over the coming months.

Through its draft Long-Term Plan consultation, residents will be asked about the Council services they are willing to see be reduced, or stopped altogether.

A motion passed at yesterday’s Council meeting sets out further reductions to Council’s personnel, which are expected to save $10.4 million in 2026/27, and $104 million over the 10 years of the Long-Term Plan.

Cutting staff & services is on the cards at Council

Following yesterday’s decisions, Council is proposing rates increases in the first five years of the Long-Term Plan of 19.9% ($10.90 per week or $567 a year for a median value property), followed by four years of 15.7% increases.

If progressed, reductions would start to be made from midway through the 2025/26 financial year (July to June), with savings in that year of $2.1 million after redundancy costs are met.

Chief Executive Lance Vervoort said the ongoing staff restructures are about delivering existing services as efficiently as possible.

“Any further cuts to personnel will impact on what the community receives from Council…It’s too early to say in what areas there could be cutbacks…”

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate was open to exploring staff reductions, but warned this may impact services also.

“I agree that double digit rates rises are not sustainable or affordable for large parts of our community, that’s why I initially proposed a smaller rates increase. I am open to exploring all options to reduce costs for Council and consumers, however, it is important to recognise that further staff reductions will lead to the reduction of significant Council services…”

Council’s consultation on its draft Long-Term Plan – adopted yesterday, is scheduled for March/April this year.

2 comments:

  1. It would have been appreciated if ‘the public’ had been in on these discussions in the first place, so we could decide on merits of 19.9% ourselves. Proposals to cut back on consultants is concerning, with the rise of malinformation in community. We need consultants to provide an overview of merits of a proposal, before we can form a reasoned opinion position.New Govt. is still finding it’s feet with it’s first Budget only months away. Salvaging policy which works for the City is going to be made much more difficult with the proposed staff cuts, some of which have already been made…Even if it means a projected higher cost for ratepayers, it is preferable to ease the increases in incrementally. The ‘them-and-us’ petty politics on Council regarding the Long Term Plan is damaging to the process, as some Councillors were seen to visibly detach themselves from the debates during Council’s Long Term Plan meeting.(Abridged)

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