Rangitikei District Council has the lowest staff cost per household, a report on New Zealand's councils has found.
The Ratepayers' Report recently released by the Taxpayers' Union includes a comparison of how much council staff are costing ratepayers.
At $622 per household, the Rangitikei council has the lowest personnel cost per household, followed by Upper Hutt City Council at $693 and Whangarei District Council at $718. The average personnel cost per household across all councils was $1364.
Rangitikei District Council chief financial officer Jo Devine said the council was efficient, especially being a small council that had to provide infrastructure to a lot of towns.
"We're not like big councils where they've got one water treatment station and one wastewater pipeline," Devine said.
"We provide a lot of infrastructure across a small rates base across a large district."
However, Devine said roading, water, wastewater, stormwater and waste transfer staff would not be included in Rangitikei's personnel numbers because these services were provided by Manawatu District Council in a shared services arrangement.
Rangitikei District Mayor Andy Watson said the council was "very efficient and very lean" but had not cut services to get to a low spending level.
"We're embarking on a fairly major capital spend in terms of earthquake-prone buildings, in terms of sewage plants and in terms of working with developers," Watson said.
Devine said the only service the council did not provide was kerbside rubbish and recycling collection.
With new chief executive Peter Beggs starting on October 21, Watson said the council would look at its services and decide if it had enough resources to be able to do everything it intended to.
The council has also come out as one of the most efficient in the Ratepayers' Report, with 102 households per staff member, on par with Whangarei District Council.
Central Hawke's Bay District Council was the most efficient with 112 households per staff member, followed by Masterton District Council at 104.
"The reality is we have been through an excellence programme with local government and they have acknowledged we are a very lean, very efficient council," Watson said.
However, there were areas the council needed to work on.
"In terms of our financials, we are right on the cusp of going into debt and of course our LTP [Long Term Plan] signals that we would already be in debt so we've performed a little bit better than we have thought, although some of that is from delayed capital expenditure," Watson said.
He said the council had some big progressive bills to pay, including for the new Bulls Community Centre.
Devine said alongside the new centre, the Marton to Bulls wastewater pipeline was in the works and the council had just commissioned the Ratana water treatment plant.