Cr Jackie Elliot has asked us to post this chart produced as part of the Annual Plan documents that Councilors and Community Board members are currently working through so as to determine what discretionary items are going to get funding for the 2020-2021 financial year (July-June like all government bodies).
As always, the consideration is how much gets spent on new Operating Expenditure (‘Opex’) and Capital Expenditure (“Capex’). To illustrate the difference: the cost of mowing a lawn is Opex, the cost of installing a drinking fountain is Capex.
At present the likelihood is a 5.8% Rates increase for 2020-2021, which the public won’t be happy with (and neither will some elected members).
However, as can be seen, during the years of Rowan & Dougherty, rates increases to fund things like the Aquatic Centre and the new council HQ as well as white elephants such as the River Recharge scheme, the water meters and the Cleantech Centre, were higher. All these projects also significantly added to council debt.
Capex items, as long as they are sensible and not white elephants, relate to new or replaced infrastructure which is good, while on the other hand a lot of Opex is on things that should be avoidable, like huge legal bills — hopefully, the efficiency review report by Martin Jenkins will identify them.