The Otago Regional Council is considering sticking to its core business.
Chair Stephen Carins said:
His intention was for staff to put together a policy paper to go to the council next year, looking at ways the council could “focus” its agenda on “core business” for the rest of this term.
” . . . It is time to stick to core business, partly because of the economic climate.”
He said the council has been working on this for a year and it’s not a response to Local Body Minister Rodney Hide’s call for councils to rein in rates.
It may not have anything to do with Reserve bank governor Alan Bollard’s call for local bodies to to play their part in reducing costs, either.
But it’s a welcome sign that councils are aware it’s not their money they’re spending, it’s ratepayers’ money and they have a responsibility to minimise the amount they take and spend.
That’s a two way street though. If we want local bodies to stick to their knitting then individuals and organisations who think the council should help with a pet project need also accept that if it’s not core business it’s not ratepayers’ responsibility and they’ll have to look elsewhere for funds.
UPDATE: Apropos of this – Adolf at No Minister asks why environment Waikato has $51m in reserves and wonders what reserves other councils hold.