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Wastewater Review (3) - Council 13 April

As expected, consideration of the Wastewater Review was confined to a few minutes at the end of the morning session. The report was ‘received’, which is the equivalent of consigning it to the dustbin.

One would have thought that a matter that has regularly involved more than 50% of Council’s total expenditure was worthy of a more than this cursory glance.

It was left to BC Strat Peters to remind those around the table that this was the most important outstanding issue coming forward from the previous Council, and that it could not be allowed to drag on any longer than necessary. Cr. Brljevich also expressed his impatience with delay in getting the matter sorted.

The Chief Executive indicated that the matter would be up for review as part of the Finance and Revenue decisions to be made in May, along with all the other issues that will of course conspire to submerge this particular open sore.

The Mayor then raised a series of ‘red herrings’ involving water and storm-water to divert attention from the main issue, and received loud and totally predictable support from Eastern Seaboard councillors. BC Peters reminded the Mayor that it was all a matter of proportion and that reference to other costs was irrelevant.

Cr. Fox talked darkly of his role as Chairman of the Audit Committee and together with BC Keith Johnson warned that they would “need to look very carefully at overall financial strategy”. Cr. Bartley pompously proclaimed the innocence of Whangamata rate-payers in regard to the decision to adopt expensive forest effluent disposal in that area.

What was surprising, and disturbing was the total absence of any input from the Thames Councillors. One would gather that they have either been suborned by staff into believing in the correctness of the current ‘district’ charging regime, or that they are, to put the best interpretation on it, confused and wish it would just go away.

There is not much that anyone can do to push through the changes that are necessary in the face of this apathetic attitude. I have set out the issues as best I can both while on the Council, and in posts. A majority of the previous Council was in support of reform, but frustrated by staff determination to defend the indefensible, a Mayor who was also antagonistic to changing a policy that she had helped put in place many years previous, and finally, time ran out to get the job done.

If Thames Councillors remain oblivious to the several hundred dollar imposition on Thames rates bills as a result of persisting with the ‘one district’ policy, and are incapable of pursuing the interests of their constituents on this issue, then I predict that it will reflect badly on them come the next election.

Cr. French of course appears to be angling for a shot at the Mayoralty, and may therefore see it differently, but there is no excuse for Cr. Hoadley and Cr. Connors refusing to stand up and be counted on this issue, even if they have done a head count and realise that there are no longer the numbers necessary to achieve success.  




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Reader Comments (1)

I wonder if the ratepayers of the Thames ward, let alone their representatives, know that half the $930 on the rate account for having a flush toilet goes to the eastern seaboard. And that about $200 for interest payments on the loans is hidden in other charges. The 'one district policy' for wastewater (sewerage) is a major step away from 'user-pays' and is inherently unfair. Bill tried to right this wrong over his term on Council and was denied a chance. By whom?

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood.

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