Letter - Council rating system queried

Daniel Adams' article "Councils ‘ripping off region's ratepayers' " exposes the decades-long practice of over-rating and underdelivery by Hamilton City Council. This year's $39.9 million "carryover" signalled a gross collapse in governance and a probable over-rating of 32 per cent.

The council consults with the citizens of Hamilton to arrive at an agreed plan of work for the year and the means of funding that work (rates, fees, loans and so on).

The 2012 plan was budgeted at $236 million of which $123 million was to be rate funded. However, come year's end, Council failed to complete $39.9 million of this work.

Irrespective of whether or not that uncompleted work was to be rate funded, the council didn't give that unspent money back to ratepayers. As such, Hamilton ratepayers were over-charged $39.9 million or 32 per cent on their rates! No wonder the council didn't borrow as much as expected - it took $39.9 million from ratepayers for nothing!

If a CEO is not confident of completing the annual plan he must advise the council as such, otherwise he must be held to account for the shortfall. The council's failure to do so is a gross abdication of its governance responsibility.