April 06, 2022

Ratepayers' Alliance calls on Commission to acknowledge cost of living crisis

The Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance is calling on the Tauranga City Commissioners to acknowledge that there is a cost of living crisis in the city, and is urging like-minded residents to support the Alliance's submission to Council’s budget by going to www.TaurangaRates.nz.

The Commission need to alter their proposed rates increase this year to reflect the cost of living crisis and to help business recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ratepayers Alliance is calling on the Commission to reduce the 13.7% total rates increase proposed this year in their 2021-2031 Long Term Plan Amendment. The Commission has budgeted an extra $9m for staff salaries and an extra $4m for consultants this year. This is on top of the $11m increase for staff salaries and $9m more for consultants the Commission approved last year. The public sector and their consultants shouldn't be benefiting from the removal of local democracy at this difficult time for ratepayers.

One way the Commission can show leadership and understanding for the high cost of living of that ratepayers are facing is by cutting back their own expenses.

Anne Tolley claimed nearly $358,200 in fees over the last 12 months and she claimed $35,565 in expenses on top. This is twice as much as we were told it would cost when she was appointed. We are calling on Commissioners to forego their expense claims, totalling $71,000 because they are well remunerated and it would show some empathy for the costs they are adding to resident's budgets.

Commissioners Tolley & Selwood both claim $750 per week from the ratepayer due to the high cost of living in Tauranga. They need to understand the effect of their rate increases on the average person’s cost of living, average people who don't  get $750 a week gifted to them.