Rates & Accountability
Radical change is still needed at Council – and that’s what I’ll deliver together with our new CEO. Debt and rates are high and keep rising. We MUST CHANGE what and how Council works. I’ve got the drive and knowhow to lead that change, and I’ll take decisive action including:
- A Mayoral Taskforce targeting a 3% rate cap (currently 5%) and even less in subsequent years. Due to the complexity of our operations and the proposed sewerage plant development, it might take two years to achieve all the desired reduction in operating costs. Savings will be achievable with Council concentrating on what we must do, instead of trying to do everything and unnecessary things that people don’t even notice! The current staffing structure is also ineffective and staffing needs are now being reviewed. Our new CEO has confirmed he can achieve these savings and improvements in services, but it will take commitment by the Governance team and especially the Mayor.
- Council must adopt a Strategy with key objectives against which all expenditure is prioritised – growth initiatives and essential infrastructure must be our top priorities.
- Set high standards of accountability:
- Councillors pay linked to meeting attendance and training early in the term.
- Regular Mayoral public meetings and reporting against key targets
- Assignment of specific roles to Councillors including bi-annual public meetings in assigned suburbs.
- A two day response time to communications from the public.
- A new Committee structure to ensure better informed decision making.
- Councillors to receive Agendas 1 week prior to council meetings to provide sufficient time to understand and consult on complex issues.
- There is too much of Council’s business being held in Confidence. I’ll ensure all discussions are held in public, unless absolutely necessary.
- No more surprise changes to street and place names. I’ll ensure we consult on any proposed changes – I’m not suggesting there are any more to come – but change seems to be constant these days, so lets get prepared!
Please read my other Goals and Press Releases to fully understand the full range of what needs to happen at Council if we are to achieve rapid growth and a sustainable Whanganui that our children want to live in.