We are facing a global pandemic with New Zealand currently in lockdown due to COVID-19. At this time of uncertainty, Dunedin City Council must balance the requirement of exercising fiscal responsibility with the need to continue to invest in key infrastructure projects.
Therefore, we recommend delaying rates increases, focusing on core services, taking on more debt, exploring asset sales option and leveraging the Government’s depreciation policy to support ratepayers and the property sector. These actions are necessary to assist all ratepayers during the economic impact of COVID-19, as they have a big role to play in lifting our country out of recession during these uncertain times. We also recommend keeping option two under which the Council does not join the LGFA as a guarantying local authority unless the existing facilities to borrow have exhausted any headroom.
In addition, we recommend the Council take a coordinated approach for the provision, development and delivery of key infrastructure projects and remove the proposal to investigate rates differential and consider alternative funding mechanisms. These include user charges, targeted rates, public-private partnerships and special purpose vehicles.