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Extra targeted rate for Motueka ward projects

June 10th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

The Motueka Community Board is to receive $25,000 from an increase to its targeted rate, which will be used to tackle several small local projects which have languished for long periods on the Council's works lists due to lack of funds.

The news, part of the Council's final decision on rates for the 2011/12 year, is a big victory for Board chairman David Ogilvie who until now has battled to get the idea of this new targeted rate accepted by the Board.

David is preparing a draft list of potential projects to be considered for the extra funding, which he will present to the Board next week and to the community generally for consultation and other ideas. Many of the projects will relate to improvements to pavements and crossings, cycleways and perhaps town beautification.

The extra rate, to be paid by people within the Motueka ward, will be $4.34 per property per year. David told Motueka Online that although no-one likes any increase in rates, this is equivalent to "a cup of coffee or glass of beer" and will help sort out small jobs which are annoying but which the Council does not place at a high enough priority to enable them to get done through standard operations.

David explains that the actual extra targeted rate we'll be paying is $2.84 because Council has cut back on other costs associated with the existing targeted rate.

He said the idea was initially floated by the district mayor and the council chief executive late last year when mulling over ways to ease the frustration by many Motuekans who perceive that council was doing things in Richmond that aren't being done elsewhere. David picked up on the idea and proposed that the Community Board include in its submission on the 2011/12 plan a request for an extra $5 targeted rate for Motueka to be used on local projects.

His proposal met a cool response from most Board members and a strongly negative response from two members. However, David persisted and it seems he finally won over the Board and the Council. He says the proposal received majority (but not unanimous) approval over the past couple of weeks from both bodies.

"There is now general acceptance that there are things which we'd like to get done in Motueka which are just not being done because they don't meet the criteria of Council in terms of their own priorities and the matrices used by Engineering Services in particular," David says.

"Things like mobile scooter ramps, cycle lanes, some small footpaths and those sorts of things which ideally should be being done ordinarily by the Council but which just don't get done because there are other priorities like roads, kerbing and channeling and so on."

There are two controls in the process: in choosing projects to tackle, the Board must consult with the community, and each project must be approved by Council. "Consulting with the community could take some time and a bit of cost," David says, "and I'm looking at ways to keep the cost factor down."

He says one project that came through strongly at the submission stage for the annual plan was a litter cart collection system, which may take up to $5000 a year. Other ideas include sprucing up neglected parts of the roadside between the roundabout and Woodlands Avenue, and further mobile scooter ramps.

David says the decision was also "a vote for Motueka by the Council". He hopes that the organisations who commonly lobby against rates increases will see that this plan is realistic and an effective way of getting more things done without having to wait for years. He also hopes that Council does not use this local fund to justify pushing their own Motueka projects further down on priority lists.


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