The financial chickens have come home to roost on the heads of some Hamilton City Councillors

Hamilton City Council’s deficit widens, as last month we predicted it would. The Hamilton City Council has just announced their deficit will exceed $27 million. It didn’t take a forensic accountant to see that the earlier Council claims of a small deficit was PR spin and not real.

Depreciation costs should be known at the beginning of the budget year. They do not change greatly nor at short notice. Interest costs were easy to predict. The Reserve Bank was always going to increase interest rates to try and jam the inflation genie back into the bottle. With inflation rampant at 7% early in the year and still hovering over 5% mid-year, the council’s interest costs were going to rise.

Neither can be the excuse.

Maintenance costs can change but along with operational costs they are the responsibility of governance to keep an eye on.

This blowout raises a serious question around Hamilton City Councillors’ fiscal prudence. Hopefully the shock of such a large loss will galvanise councillors to make change happen fast.

Handwringing and overly positive PR pieces do not rectify the hole our councillors have put into the city’s finances. Some councillors now need to become prudent and, after years of wasteful spending, need to find revenue or get the razor gang out to cut costs.

We will watch with interest to see if their actions reassure us they are worthy stewards of our rates, or the question will quickly become…. did we elect the right crew?


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