Auckland Council is formulating a new cleaning & maintenance plan for the cbd, expected to cost $3.25 million/year more to do it to a higher standard, with some transfer of funding between the city centre targeted rate, Auckland Transport & general rating.
It’s one of the bizarre features of the super-city structure the Government created in 2010 to separate some of the commercial roles of the new council from day-to-to management of public services.
But who looks after street furniture? And who sweeps the footpath? Ratepayers pay for it, but what convoluted route does their money take?
This is but one example of how local, relatively uncomplicated systems were complicated, and how they can be made simple again.
This over-complication appears in many ways. For instance, the 21 local boards are all supplied every month with a range of reports, some containing ward-specific information but much of it generic, requiring multiple presentations from council or council-controlled organisation staff. Much of this information may also be presented to one or more of the council’s committees.
For the city centre cleaning & maintenance plan, the changes would come when existing maintenance contracts are renegotiated in 2017.
Details of progress towards the improvements were unveiled in March and are up for discussion again at the council’s city centre advisory board on Wednesday.
City transformation team leader Rachael Eaton said in her report the review was undertaken by senior management at the council’s solid waste & parks divisions and Auckland Transport to establish the range of cleaning & maintenance standards, who delivers what and the outcomes they aim to achieve, the streets & spaces where the standards apply and how much it costs to deliver them.
“Who delivers what” is complicated. The tiered structure the Government created for the new council in 2010, with council-controlled organisations off to the side, means a report like this goes to the council’s development committee and the Waitemata local board as well as the city centre advisory board (which has no decision-making powers), and also has to bring in council-controlled organisations such as Auckland Transport, which looks after streets.
Given that organisational morass, the council’s city transformation team wants to establish a one-stop shop structure to monitor & manage maintenance. Ms Eaton said that included the current proposal to create an asset management & maintenance services unit within the council’s chief operations office.
Among the aims are to simplify service & communication of expected standards, to enable customers to report complaints and for staff to respond to hot spots.
“Initial work indicates that the proposed changes to the standards & where they apply will result in an additional operational expenditure cost of $3.25 million/year. This figure includes costs to Auckland Transport associated with replacing & repairing damaged street furniture, which totals on average $450,000/year. Under the current city centre targeted rate policy, the current allocation of targeted rate funding to enable increased levels of service to be provided to targeted rate projects totals $500,000/year.
“Staff are currently scoping whether there is opportunity for the city centre targeted rate policy to be amended so the current 2.5% allocation can be dedicated to the replacement & repair of damaged street furniture. If this was to proceed, cleaning of the city centre – including targeted rate-funded projects – would be funded from the general rate.”