Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 8:44PM
Bill Barclay

It is only a minor matter, but the question of Council agreeing to allow non ratepayers from outside the District to freely use our Library facilities for which Thames ratepayers pay $81 a year in their rates is one that should not be swept through without debate as was likely to happen today. The paper came through from the Community Board where for some inexplicable reason the Librarian's suggestion along these lines was adopted.

It was only derailed because a staff member pointed out that it could have an effect on Whitianga and Tairua/Pauanui ratepayers as well. So it has now been delayed until consultation in those wards. I hope common sense prevails when it returns in August.

Here is what I wrote on 3 May:

A request that the membership fees ($2645 last year) for subscribers from outside the district be removed was adopted with dissent expressed by Cr. Connors, who rightly questioned why we should even be contemplating such a move in the face of rate increases. The Librarian argued that other districts, including Hauraki have abolished fees, and that we should fall into line.

No provision for records to be kept in order to ascertain the effect of such a move was requested in adopting the motion. One would have thought that this would be the very least that would be required in order to keep track of its effect.

It could be argued that the effects on our ratepayers will be much greater than in Hauraki as residents of Tairua and other areas that predominantly shop in Thames come to see our library as their library of choice.

Again, the only councillor to speak out against the move on this occasion was Cr Connors. This was on the basis that there will be a cost to Thames ratepayers, and little discernible benefit. Cr Connors spoke well but failed to follow through on the vote which was side-lined when the problem with other wards came to light. Cr Connors should have the courage of her convictions, and walk her talk with her vote.

Again, no one saw fit to ask that records be kept in order to keep track of the effects of the motion were it to be adopted - sloppy!




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