Seventy-six full-time city council jobs have been created at a cost of $6.1 million - a move one former councillor says is "bloody scary".
Details of the new positions have been been disclosed after councillor Rick Curach said the public needed more information on extra staff costs totalling $2.4 million this year and $3.7 million next year.
It will boost total staff costs to $46.8 million by mid-2017. This was 90 per cent more than the $24.6 million spent 10 years earlier in 2006-07.
Figures provided to the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend showed the number of equivalent full-time jobs had risen by 150 in the nearly 10 years from June 30, 2006, to January 31, 2016 - a 38 per cent increase.
Former councillor Mike Baker said the new jobs and long-term trends in staff costs and numbers were "bloody scary".
He questioned what restructuring had achieved over the past few years apart from "just huge increases in costs".
"I see rate rises and more costs ahead for the city," Mr Baker said.
But Mayor Stuart Crosby said the council had been under-resourced and most of the extra jobs were due to "sheer growth" and the need to keep accreditation to issue building consents.
Previous restructuring made the organisation too lean and put the city at risk following the global financial crisis, he said.
Council figures showed 53 full-time equivalent staff would have been hired by the end of the financial year on June 30, with a further 23 to be recruited in 2016-17.
Most of this year's extra staff were to deal with pressure on building consents caused by Tauranga's growth.
"Importantly, these costs have been funded within the current budget."
Most of next year's 23 new staff will be paid from within the 2.5 per cent rates rise.
Information obtained by Mr Baker showed there were 541 full-time equivalent staff on the council at January 31 plus 151 on council-controlled organisations at December 31 - making a total of 692 full-time staff.
Council chief executive Garry Poole said there were vacancies or planned roles for a further 57 full-time staff. He also disclosed the council had employed 23 contractors this year at a cost of $952,000.
Mr Baker was not provided with a breakdown of staff costs for the council-controlled organisations (CCOs), the largest of which was Tauranga City Venues, which runs the aquatics centres, stadiums and halls. Nearly 90 per cent of CCO staff were part-time or casual.
The council would contribute $4.9 million this year toward the operating costs of CCOs, Mr Poole said.
Mr Baker said although a large proportion of the extra $22.2 million reflected the hiring of more staff, he compared the 90 per cent growth in staff costs since 2006-07 to official figures for the growth in public sector wages and salaries over nearly the same 10-year period of 21.7 per cent.
Mr Crosby said the new jobs were particularly needed in the infrastructure and building service areas, where there had been recruitment problems because of competition from other big-growth regions.
He said master and certified builders had reported significant delays, particularly with council inspections. "We have made a strong commitment to improve our performance in that area."
The council had made some positions redundant and others were created with a different focus, on top of a 13 per cent annual staff turnover.