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Board's finances in good shape for 2013/14 year
April 13th, 2014
[by David Armstrong]
The Motueka Community Board's finances are in good shape, with a year-end (June 30th) balance forecast of around $18,000 despite a year of heavy spending on special projects.
The Board were told at their April meeting on Tuesday that thanks to a healthy surplus carried forward from last year they were able to spend over $22,000 more than planned this year and still be in surplus.
One notable change has been the amount given as small grants to community groups, called the Board's "Discretionary Fund". Normally well used, this year (with two months to go) only $2,859 has been granted from the $6,000 budgeted.
Several applications over the past nine months have been declined, and of late fewer organisations have applied than in recent years.
The big-ticket items of expenditure have been the special projects, paid for through the $5 targeted rate for all Motueka ward ratepayers. This has been spent on:
- $9,951 for pedestrian crossing contribution
- $7,729 for footpaths
- $940 for installing a heat pump at the Memorial Hall
- $2,939 for kitchen items
- $4,992 for kitchen joinery at the Memorial Hall
- $6,470 dishwasher and wiring Memorial Hall
- $2,500 being a contribution to Tasman Makos for the Crusaders / Highlanders match of February 7th, and
- $5,000 Turners Bluff underpass
Kiyosato Gardens hedge
The Community Board is tentatively backing calls from several sources in recent months to have most of the hedges surrounding the Japanese Kiyosato Gardens in Decks Reserve removed.
Keep Motueka Beautiful is one group asking for the gardens to be open to the eyes of the public. Vandalism to the tea house and plants has been rife, with the gardens being used by teenagers hanging out unsupervised, particularly at night.
Some cases of theft from the possessions of distracted families enjoying the gardens during the day have also ocurred. The Board's only concern is that teenagers simply move their favourite venue from one location to another, and open space has not deterred antisocial activity at other locations such as Thorps Bush park.
Lower Motueka River Flood Management
Board member David Ogilvie reported to the Board meeting on his view of the outcomes of the Council's public meeting to discuss the annual plan proposals for flood management.
He said that rather than looking at details of the modelling of river flows by consultants and the implications on budgeting, the meeting discussion centred on the Council's gravel extraction policies.
"Barry Westrupp, Kevin Palmer and Neil Jackson expressed their strong criticism of the volume of gravel downstream of Woodman's Bend, which Council was intent on leaving," he reported.
"Council staff responded that the gravel was not a factor, either in river management or flood protection. Nevertheless, the three Motueka residents, each of whom is experienced with the Lower Motueka and know its moods, continued with their criticism."
David said this is an issue where the Motueka contractors are at variance with Council management practices. "Whenever there is a Rivercare meeting (or similar) relating to the Lower Motueka River, the same arguments arise. The Motueka contractors' arguments and statements are compelling. They are practical people explaining their common sense approach to the river management.
"Is there not a compromise situation available here? ... The compaction/saturation problems of the stopbanks are not being addressed, and create major risks for the Motueka community."
The Community Board had received advice from TDC about the requested use of land behind the community gardens (off Old Wharf Road) for the Men's Shed group to build a shed.
It said the land is owned by Council and is an old sawdust tip. There has been discussion in the past about the suitability of this site for buildings where any gas that might come from the soil may build up inside the building and cause issues for users.
There being no power, water or sewage to the site, and vehicle access is limited. Council therefore advised that the site requested "is unsuitable for their proposed use".
Board members said the Men's Shed group would be advised, but there was still scope for them to design ways of overcoming these problems.
Proposal for a community development trust
Chris Salt presented to the Board the ideas being developed by the Strategic Development group of Vision Motueka around how the Motueka community could advance their own projects without having to rely on Council to do the work or pay for them. (See our earlier report here.)
With the TDC increasingly focusing on its core responsibilities (water, drainage, sewerage etc), we can no longer expect Council to provide for all our community projects.
"We can either go along with it and accept what we get, or as a community take our future into our own hands," Chris said. While operating within existing local government structures, we could set up a community development trust to plan, in consultation with the community through democratic processes, some signature projects and other smaller ones.
"It's a matter of the community taking charge of its own destiny," he said.
Board member generally agreed in principal with the concept or said they were open minded, but some were unsure how the funding would work if Council were not to be providing it. They asked Vision Motueka to put up a detailed proposal on paper that could enable the idea to be advanced further.
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