An inundation of submissions by locals could produce positive results for a greater share of rates being spent back into Rodney’s road sealing program.
That’s the message from Rodney Local Board member Greg Sayers who is vigorously opposed to Auckland Council’s latest road sealing budget.
Planned future funding to seal unsafe Rodney roads was decreased by the Auckland Council in its proposed ten year budget approved last November.
Greg Sayers is putting a call out to all Rodney ratepayers to unite against the proposal.
“The siphoning of our rates has to stop,” says Mr Sayers. “It’s time for us put an end to this unfairness. People want a fair deal.”
The Rodney Local Board last year advocated, on behalf of the community, that the road sealing budget should be at least $10 million a year for the next ten years. This would seal close to one third of Rodney’s most hazardous roads.
Mr Sayers says the Local Board has been totally ignored by the Mayor and the Councillors.
Last year $1.4 million was allocated for new road sealing. All that went to sealing Makakana Valley Road, Warkworth, a two year project with a total cost of $2.16 million.
In the proposed budget for the Long-term Plan the seal extension budget has been decreased to $1 million a year for the next ten years.
“NorWest News readers are angry that Council wants to overlook such an important safety, health and economic problem as unsealed roads. People want to have their voice heard.”
“In response community groups have created a standard submission form. People just have to print, sign and send it,” says Mr Sayers. The form is available online at a web site www.sealrodneyroads.co.nz
Mr Sayers says there are already over 12,000 people being reached through a “Seal Rodney Roads” campaign running on Facebook. “Even the Mayor is finding it hard to ignore this rapidly growing public awareness,” he says.
The Te Awaroa Residents & Ratepayers Association for Helensville and Parakai have fully endorsed the Seal Rodney Roads community campaign and Mr Sayers is expecting other ratepayer organisations to follow.
He says the rate-take from Rodney is $62 million a year with $33 million coming directly from the rural sector where road sealing is mostly required. Standard council services such as water supply, sewage and waste water services are not supplied to these property owners, unlike for other urban Auckland ratepayers.
“People do not accept that such a small amount of Rodney’s ratepayers money is being allocated back into rural Rodney,” says Mr Sayers. “Having the sealing budget reduced is completely unacceptable.
Mr Sayers is suggesting to Auckland Council, who holds the purse strings allocation to Auckland Transport, that the $10 million a year could be extracted directly from the $33 million rural ratepayers pay. “It’s a simple cash flow funding model, it isn’t exorbitant, it focuses the money to be spent back locally and it’s fair” he says.
Sayers says that Auckland Council’s treasury department typically prefers to borrow money for capital investment projects such as road sealing, repaying the debt from the rates income over time. Auckland Council has a Standard & Poors credit rating of AA and is one of New Zealand’s most secured borrowers.
“If Auckland Council wants to it could borrow $10 million a year at 4.5% which equates to a principal and interest repayment of $1.25 million per annum over a ten year term,” says Sayers. “This could easily be serviced from the $33 million a year being collected from rural Rodney”.
According the Auckland Transport’s publicly released seal extension guidelines Mr Sayers says no roads in the north west of Rodney are likely to be sealed for the next 16 years.
The first to be sealed would be Taiapa Road (Murawa) followed by McLachlan Road (Kaukapakapa) two years later, with Hamilton Road (Waimauku) another two years after that. Within the next forty-five years only Wilson Road (South Head) and Muriwai Valley Road are likely to also be sealed.
However, Mr Sayers says with the larger budget the above roads would be sealed within just 4 years. He says within ten years other roads on the sealing list include Horseshoe Bush Road (Dairy Flat), Cambridge Road (Riverhead), Kauri Crescent (Haupai), Mangakura Road (Helensville), Constable Road (Muriwai), Mahana Road (Waimauku), Stoney Creek Road (Kaukapakapa), Pebble Brook Road (Wainui), Haruru Road (Wainui), Fletcher Road (Waimauku), Zanders Road (Helensville), Henwood Road (Taupaki), Inland Road (Helensville), Kauri Crescent (Huapai), Matatea Road (Waimauku), Mill Flat Road (Riverhead), amongst others.
Auckland Transports road sealing priority list is published on its website.
The draft Long-term Plan is currently out public feedback until 16 March 2015. Mr Sayers is encouraging everyone with concerns about the road sealing budget to urgently make a submission using the form available from the Seal Rodney Roads campaign website.
The Governing Body aims to sign-off a finalised budget and Long-term Plan on 25 June 2015.