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Saturday
Sep242011

Council Meeting 27 September

There are a number of items on this Agenda on which I am unable to comment because the supporting documents were not posted on the net as has been past practice. Those interested are invited to email a staff member if particular papers are required. This may be an attempt to overcome problems associated with posting the sometimes bulky documents on the net, but is totally unsatisfactory as far as I am concerned.

It means that it is virtually impossible to obtain the documents until some time on Monday, or even Tuesday. So the best that I can do is simply note that a particular item is coming up. I will expand on the items marked with an asterisk when their contents become known. But note that the CEO decision will remain 'secret' until the Mayor chooses to make the announcement.  

Items for Wednesday include:

Proposed Plan Change 3 * - See my comments of Commissioner Cooney's hearing on 1 July. This is an vexatious matter that will cause considerable concern no matter what recommendations he has made, and this will be voted on on Wednesday.  

Thames Library Fees- After further consultation with the Tairua/Pauanui and Whitianga Boards with regard to the proposal to remove fees for 'out of district' residents (one 'for' and one 'against'), and even in the face of the previous staff recommendation 'against', it has come back with a recommendation to drop the fees. Not much logic for this is put forward for the paper other than the 'desirability to align with neighbouring districts'. Bollocks! I wonder how Cr Connors will stand up to the pressure.

LG Debt Vehicle * - Staff are recommending  that Council joins as an 'establishment' member with others to set up a 'bank' to improve the overall borrowing capacity of councils, and enable them to exercise some leverage through scale.  It may be a good idea, but the reason it was not considered practicable previously was the need for all members who borrowed to be subjected to a 'Standard & Poors' type of surveillance, the expense of which would outweigh any other advantage. It will be good to see if the supporting documents prove that this is now not the case. 

Whangamata Marine Precinct - You may be aware that there was a block of land at the back of the Marina (621 Beach Road) that was earmarked for future sale for sub-division in order to return to Council some of the extremely high costs associated with the establishment of the Marina, and appeals that preceded it - a cost covered by the entire district ratepayer base. Once the acrimony receded, the locals insisted that the land which is now valued at some $1.5m. be retained for community benefit, and woe betide anyone who suggests otherwise.  

As everyone knows, the wealthy bunch of mainly outsiders who promoted the Marina managed to get their own way through the entire process, and the re-designation of this last piece of the original land as a reserve for the purposes of creating an overflow boat, and caravan park (in other than peak times of course!), is just a further finger in the air to remaining ratepayers who have only been able to watch, bemused as their rights have been trodden on throughout this entire convoluted process. And so it proceeds - Council on Wednesday will undoubtedly fall into line with regard to this latest insult, which of course has strong local support.

CEO * - the final stage of the appointment process has arrived, and the appointment will be made at the meeting on Wednesday. Nothing has emerged as to who that appointee may be, or as to whether the incumbent is still in with a fighting chance. The full Council met earlier this month to interview the final three candidates who included Steve Ruru. These had been culled down from what the Mayor stated was a "large list of highly qualified candidates". The selection Committee comprising the Mayor, Deputy Mayor French, and Cr McLean were left to make the recommendation based on results of the final interviews, and it seems unlikely that the full Council will deviate from their recommendation.

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