Hamilton city councillors say surplus no reason to break out the champagne

24 Aug 2015
Aug 24 2015

I could not, in good faith, vote in last week’s Finance Committee meeting to accept the report that provided an update on the 10 Year Plan. Not because the report was in any way flawed, but out of principle.
The city got into financial strife in the first place through committing to pet projects such as the V8s and Claudelands… projects that were voted in by members of this council. The Mayor was voted in on a financial platform to balance the books, cut spending, cap debt at $440m and hold rates at 3.8%.
But balancing the books is just one pillar in the financial plan used in the last election campaign. Pillar 2: Cutting spending cost many council staff their jobs following restructures. Pillar 3: We voted last month, by the slimmest of margins, to break that debt cap by $130m. Pillar 4: Holding rates at 3.8% has been locked in, but this isn’t something to be proud of, when inflation is less than 1%.
Starting to feel comfortable again, we are looking to leave a legacy and boost egos. The chamber is again talking about pet projects that will cost ratepayers more than those we have seen in the past and the cycle will start all over again. The River Plan is top of the pet project list.
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Photo by CHRISTEL YARDLEY. Used with permission from Stuff.co.nz