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Community Board special rate may be raised

February 11th, 2015
[by David Armstrong]

Most members of the Motueka Community Board are keen to see the ward targeted rate increased from five dollars to $10 per year, as long as it is spent well.

This item of business at last night's meeting was probably the most contentious of a busy agenda, which suggested that the board are prepared to tackle the number of long-standing local issues.

Advocating the increase, board chairman Paul Hawkes said that the projects which are paid for by this special rate have little priority on the council list of projects to do, but in the eyes of the community are of very high significance and priority.

He said the rate is now widely accepted, because locals now see direct benefits from initiatives that the board consults on and drives to make a reality.

"We do not see this as being greedy nor out of reach, considering the rate has remained the status quo over the last three year period," he said. "This increase would see more work possible within the ward, driven from the community, with the board's lead."

He said most of the projects involve money paid to local businesses and contractors, thereby keeping me circulating within the community.

The only dissension of board members present at the meeting was from Councillor Jack Inglis, who flatly said "absolutely no". There are enough rates already.

Board member David Ogilvie said he would "doubled it [the special rate] yesterday". The money is all spent locally, and it is "very well spent".

Councillor Peter Canton agreed with David, pointing out that the special projects rate gives the community board more autonomy from the District Council, and "lets the community have more say in its own future".

Board member Cliff Satherley was equivocal on the matter. He strongly believes that before the rate is increased, there needs to be more and tighter structure and process around how projects are chosen.

He pointed out that when the rate was introduced three years ago, special projects were supposed to be for items that were on TDC's project list but too low in priority to happen yet. Since then, other projects not related to Council work have been introduced into the mix.

Councillor Barry Dowler and board member Richard Horrell were not at the meeting at the time this was discussed, arriving a little later. The board will inform the public via articles in the local paper and on Motueka Online and seek feedback.

High Street traffic improvements on NZTA's agenda
David Ogilvie reported on a meeting he attended late last year on the Draft Regional Land Transport Plan, in which countries highways manager NZTA presented the activities that it proposed to do within the Tasman District over the next six years.

After years of battling with NZTA over traffic lights and roundabouts on Motueka's High Street, the plan indicated that traffic lights could be installed at the High/Pah/Greenwood Street intersection over the next three years, and that in the following three years roundabouts could be built at the King Edward Street and Whakarewa Street intersections.

Board advocates for proper use of Motueka Harbour and Coastal Works account
The thorny issue of this fund was again discussed. Paul Hawkes tabled a document he had sent to TDC asking for a review of the rules about how this fund can be spent.

In it, he proposed that the fund could be spent only on development of the marine area west of Ward Street, repair and development of the Riwaka wharf and adjacent jetties, repair of the historic Motueka wharf, repair of the Moutere Channel training wall, and dredging work in the Port Motueka channel.

Council's response to his report has been basically to leave the policy as it stands, although it has agreed to shorten the boundary of the coastal area under consideration from the Riwaka River mouth to the northern end of the Kina Peninsular, including all the Moutere Inlet.

Board supports High School Cultural Centre initiative
The board heard a presentation by Julie Tideman, Fundraising & Marketing Manager from Motueka High School, about their grant application to Internal Affairs for the proposed Cultural Education Centre at the school.

The centre is to be a multi-use facility with a Kaupapa Maori focus for school-wide use, and will also be available to the wider community.

The school has been seeking to build such a centre to better meet the needs of the growing number of their Maori learners and Whanau, and it would also complement their school-wide goal of raising Maori student achievement.

The board voted to support their application for funds with a letter of endorsement.


Comment by Jim Butler:
[Posted 19 February 2015]

I agree that the Motueka Community Board's Special Rates Levy should be raised from $5 to $10 a year because the small works done so far by the Community Board with this special rates money has not attracted much in overhead expenses. So that Motueka Ward ratepayers have been getting good value for their $5 a year.

Unfortunately works carried out by TDC tend to attract large amount of overhead expenses that can cover such costs as contract negotiations and supervision, consultants charges, insurance, TDC professional charges, AMP preparation, corporate governance, property allocations and other running costs which are distributed over all Council's activities. New government regulations have increased many of these costs in recent years which have involved much more staff time, to the extent that now the cost of overheads can equal, or even exceed, the cost of the actual work.

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