Mayoral Candidate, Cr Jackie Elliott, who has taken part in every Annual Plan workshop thus far, says “the Annual Plan public consultation document Future Kapiti appears devoid of the implications of the most pressing issues at the table and their effects on our fiscal performance.”
The Document outlines two proposals, involving an extra $250,000, that will increase proposed rates from an average 4.3% increase this year to 4.4% while there are four that would mean a decrease, one meaning a decrease of $310,000 that will decrease the proposed rates rise to 3.7%.
Cr Elliott says, “What is missing in Future Kapiti is any disclosure that the cost of supplying water has been run at a whopping $1.1 million deficit for this, the first financial year of payment through volumetric charging. It has been hidden by creative accounting and the acceptance of a CRAG decision, instead of the open forum of the annual plan consultation process, and any payment of the debt has been deferred until next year onwards.”
Cr Elliott says the $1.1 million deficit will incur considerable interest charges over a year. “The debt will have to be paid eventually by residents and ratepayers through rates and likely increased charges. Also, according to the Long Term Plan, the proposed increase in rates for 2017/2018, which is without this deficit, is already proposed at 4.9%. More than this year’s and next year a further half million dollar deficit is forecast in the water account on top of the $1.1 million.”
Cr Elliott says Council’s total public debt is expected to be up to $167.7 million this time next year. [This is about a 25% increase on the figure cited in this post from January last year — Ed]
“Why has payment of this deficit not been factored into the proposed rates or water rates for this year? I suggest one simple reason. It’s an election year. Please remember this when the Mayor and Councillors rejoice that water charges have not risen this year. This is why,” she said.
“Council is in denial about the true costs. A recent example was a press column last week alleging benefits of water metering, in which Cr Gaylor completely failed to mention the $1.1 million deficit at all.
This debt should have been part of the consultation document. It isn’t, but I recommend you still have your say on this and include your advice to us on your submission to this year’s annual plan,” says Cr Elliott.
One additional piece of relevant information gleaned is that nearly all the reduction in water usage trumpeted by the KCDC as vindication for the water meters — one of boss Dougherty’s spin doctor releases even made it to TV One News last year — was in fact a result of detecting and fixing leaks in pipes; and of these leaks, 75% were on council land, not on private land!