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Wednesday
Sep282011

Developers Troughing (2)

A great deal of faux heat was generated at today's Council meeting over the developer subsidy, but make no mistake, all councillors supported the motion for a 2 year, 50% rate concession starting from 1 July 2012. Staff were roundly condemned for the quality of the paper as a presented, mainly by Cr McLean, but he had wide support - particularly from Cr Hoadley, who at least graced this meeting with her presence.  

What Cr McLean really wanted (and he moved the motion accordingly - later withdrawn), was an unlimited time, 100% concession, until the section was sold. He and others also wanted it applied retrospectively.

When informed by the CEO that the cost would exceed $250,000 in the first case, and $1.8m in the second, he hesitated. When told that contrary to his earlier claim that Council incurred no cost by adopting this motion, he was firmly reminded by the CEO of the infrastructure, interest and depreciation costs that continued regardless until the section was sold. He then caved in completely, and the meeting reverted to the original recommendation.

But that's not all; they agreed that staff should come back to a workshop so that more accurate costings could be prepared for the options above, and reserved the right to introduce these changes at the November Ten Year Plan meeting, prior to its distribution for consultation early in the New Year.

This was a determined effort to overthrow what was considered an attempt by staff to bypass clear instructions that must have originated within a closed door workshop. I know full well just how these measures are regarded by senior staff, who consider it a direct attempt to intefere with market forces, and protect developers who have made bad business decisions.

There are majority of councillors around the Council table who clearly signaled that they were more than just well disposed towards developers, and three, including the Mayor at last, even declared a conflict of interest (see warning in Developers Troughing below), and left the room. But not Cr McLean, who apparently considers himself a builder rather than a developer.

There is a basic equity issue involved with this proposal, even before Cr McLean's outrageous proposed amendments are included. The only way that rate-payers can ensure that their interests are protected, and their voices heard, is to participate in a meaningful manner in the Ten Year Plan consultation process early next year.

Do not leave it to someone else. If you feel strongly about this boondoggle, make sure that your voice is heard. This Council does respond to public opinion, but only if it is heard.

 

 

 

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