Updated post 7.7.14
### ODT Sat, 5 July 2014 (page 34)
Opinion: Letters to the editor
Drastic action urged on DCC’s debt level
The recent Ratepayers Report on New Zealand councils’ relative financial performance makes for sobering reading for Dunedin’s 53,266 ratepayers. The Dunedin City Council’s debt per ratepayer of $15,093 is nearly the highest in New Zealand and is exceeded only by Auckland.
The DCC is amongst New Zealand’s worst-performing councils in terms of operating expenditure at $6885 per ratepayer, well ahead of the national average of $3175 per ratepayer. DCC employee expenditure per ratepayer is $1783, which is three times the national average.
It’s hard to believe Dunedin was once famous for thrift and living within its means. Mayor Cull and the new CEO Sue Bidrose must wake up and make some drastic cuts as soon as possible, given the DCC’s shocking performance compared to most other local authorities.
T. Stevens, Dunedin
[Dunedin City Council group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie replies: “The figures quoted by your correspondent are for the group position of councils and highlight the fact the Dunedin City Council has significant other assets (Aurora Energy Limited, Delta Limited, City Forest’s Limited and Taieri Gorge Railway Limited). The actual asset value for the group is in excess of $70,000 per ratepayer.
“For Dunedin, the average rates bill is $1750, which is the 13th-lowest of all the councils and reflects the benefits we receive from the wider DCC group.”]
I note Grant McKenzie leaves off mention of the stadium companies DVML and DVL, which are now part of DCHL, and the effect of their growing debt on the council’s overall position. And what of all misappropriation of funds and serious fraud at DCC, DVML and CST still to be revealed, you have to ask.
█ Ratepayers Report at http://www.ratepayersreport.co.nz/
Larry Mitchell’s opinion of DCC’s reply to T. Stevens would be interesting – further, it’s not like other councils don’t have their own companies or significant and strategic assets.
█ Then to blow everything out of Otago Harbour there’s DCC’s exposure to global markets through borrowing – see new comment by Rob Hamlin.
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