Where have the past 3 years, or even the past 6 years, gone?
Time seems to fly by!
And if we are not careful another 6 years will have peeled off the calendar and we will still be facing the same issues that we faced 3 years ago. Or worse, we will have created more debt and have bigger issues facing council and hence ratepayers.
I am not saying the current council has necessarily done a bad job, but could they have a done a better job? I think so. Many of the incumbent councillors featured reduced spending as a priority on their last election profile. If they were on a performance based salary I do not think they would be calling a half million dollar overspend on a 1.2 million dollar project “a good investment.” The project itself being a debatable investment in the first place when reduced spending was a priority.
Not to worry, they say, we can use the recent sale of forestry to off-set the budget blowout. That is money that could have gone toward reducing debt, or enhancing core services, but is now lost to overspend.
Other purchases have also slipped under the radar during a period of debt reduction that would question the integrity of the claims made in the last election campaign. We are in a period of abnormally low interest rates and it should have been a time council was able to claw back some of the debt incurred in recent history, but it is looking like the opportunity will be squandered.
Lost opportunity is bad, but the cost to the ratepayer when interest rates spike again will not just be increased rate bills (yet again) as the council struggles to meet its debt repayment, but will also be a loss of extra amenities and service upgrades because there are no funds available. That is my children and your children paying for our “oops we had a 50% blowout.”
So this election I hope voters look past the slick rhetoric and vote according to historical performance and motivated sincerity.
Let’s keep Tasman an affordable place to live so we can enjoy the lifestyle that we grew up expecting.