Auckland Mayor Len Brown says he is confident he can hold an increase in rates to under 5%.
On Monday, Mr Brown narrowly won a vote to to start the six-month-long rate-setting process at 4.9%.
The mayor told Morning Report the new super-city council may struggle to find the savings it was supposed to, but says there is room to make further cuts and continue with some big projects.
He says the completion of the inner-city loop and a cruise ship terminal will not come into the budgets for another 18 months, but finding that money will still be a difficult balancing act.
A consultation period takes place in March and April, including dozens of public hearings. New rates take effect in July.