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Bigger 'Motueka projects' pot subject to tighter rules

June 22nd, 2015
[by David Armstrong]

Council has approved a request to raise the Motueka targeted rate for "special projects" and has recommended policies and rules around how it will operate from now on.

The final Council decision for a $10 per year targeted rate will be included in the Long Term Plan to be voted on next week, but the Motueka Community Board will discuss at tomorrow's meeting the rules that will govern the use of money raised.

For the past four years Motueka ratepayers have paid $5 per year to go into a fund of roughly $25,000 that has been spent on local projects that are low priority or non-existent on TDC's work plans. However, the criteria around how projects are decided have been loose to date.

The Community Board asked for this rate to be increased to $10, and board members and Council have agreed that the rules that have applied until now for what local projects were chosen for funding need to be tightened and formalised. (See our earlier story here.)

In the agenda for tomorrow's meeting, Council staff have put forward a regime for the board's agreement. Key aspects include:

  • The purpose of the fund is to provide money for "projects and initiatives in the Motueka Community Board area that the Board considers to be of a high priority for the Motueka Ward but are not high enough in relation to district-wide priorities to gain direct Council funding".
  • All approved projects must fit within the purpose of local government contained in the Local Government Act 2002, and all applications become public via agendas and minutes.
  • Projects may be put forward for consideration by the Community Board or by residents, and those not proposed by the Board must be made on the prescribed application form and include supporting financial and other documentation as required, much as what happens with applications for TDC's Community Grants scheme.
  • The Board's decision on what applications are chosen each year is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Funding is to be used only for the purpose approved, and unused funding must be returned to the Board at the termination or completion of the project.
  • Projects must take place within the Motueka Ward and demonstrate a clear benefit to the local community, including addressing an identified community need.
  • For those projects which relate to Council's infrastructure, these will be those "of low priority to the Council in the context of district-wide priorities, but high priority for the local community". The funding contribution to any project will not normally exceed $10,000. Infrastructure projects and projects on/in Council property will be managed by Council staff and only utilise Council-approved contractors.
  • For special projects that do not fall under Council and Infrastructure-related funding, the funding contribution to any project will not exceed $5,000, and average allocations will be less than $2,000.
  • Where appropriate, project activities are to be supported by a Health and Safety Plan, need to demonstrate their contribution to Council's Community Outcomes, need to demonstrate local community support, are to be for organisations not for individuals, and are not to be for a project that is the responsibility of Central Government or other agencies.

Under this scheme, the Community Board each year will invite applications for community-led projects for the coming year, in time for consideration at the February Community Board Meeting. After checking for policy compliance, reviewed and prioritised by the Board, a short list of 5-10 preferred projects will then be developed for consultation with the community.

The Board, as part of the annual budget process, and with the assistance of Council officers, will prepare a short list of both lower priority Council and other community projects for the coming year.

The proposed projects will be consulted on by inclusion in the Annual Plan (or a similar local presentation) for public submissions. The Community Board will then meet, considers those submissions, staff advice on the proposed projects, and decide on the next year's projects. This will normally occur by the July or August Board meeting.

As a result of the increased rate, Council has estimated that about $48,500 will be collected in the 2015/16 financial year, and this amount has been included in the Long Term Plan 2015-25. Funds unused in one year will be carried forward to the following year.

[See the follow-up article written after the meeting here.]


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