Today some Councillors appeared surprised that the extremely expensive UNBALANCED ANNUAL PLAN BUDGET that they [except me] voted for in June has resulted in a $45 million increase in DCC debt that would next year breach our DCC-only $350 million debt limit legislated in the current 10 year Plan.
DCC COMPANY DEBT for which we are all liable is additional.
Rather than limit unsustainable spending increases such as the year on year 8% cumulative increases in staff costs, all except Cr. Radich and me voted to massively increase the DCC debt limit to 250% of annual revenue, more than doubling the DCC-only fixed debt limit to $698 million.
Extraordinary justifications for this rate and pillage of the next generation decision included:
Mayor Hawkins – “we are borrowing for intergenerational investment”.
Cr. Staynes – “we have to do infrastructure projects and we have no choice”.
Cr. Lord – “I don’t feel super-alarmed by increases in debt”.
Cr. Houlahan – “if we double the debt, does that mean we have to double rates?”.
Cr. Whiley – “this is not an open-cheque-book going forward”.
Crs. Whiley and Walker joined the staff chorus of “this proposal is for a debt limit, not a debt target”. Note – the current debt limit was already 98.9% taken up.
Staff claimed not to know if there had ever been a debt-limit reduction in the last 20 years.
Mayor Hawkins and Cr. Walker claimed the increase was in response to a “much demanded spend program” when in fact the vast majority of Annual Plan submissions  wanted a zero rates rise, and the second most submitted on item [172 submitters including almost all Community Boards] wanted the planned $60 million ‘surface treatments’ of the Central City upgrade to be shelved.
The yellow bar in the graph shows the debt extent of the June UNBALANCED BUDGET that now forces the massive increase of the the previous $350 million debt limit, which the Cull Council already increased by $65 million in 2018.