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Saturday
Sep152012

TCB Meeting Tuesday

I had arranged to go on a DOC volunteer trip to Stony Bay, so was unable to attend the meeting. I asked my excellent colleague Robert Jeffares from Big Valley Radio to stand in for me which he did with his usual panache.

Here is his report:

Well the community board meeting got as close to all in mud wrestling as it's ever been as a frosty mother superior, wyn hoadley sparred with the chair 'pope' strat peters and wrestled with a feisty sister Dianne Connors, who had made clear statements of intent, voted accordingly, then had her cause sabotaged by chair strat peters calling in the referees when he could have allowed Connors call for funding for the Thames arts festival using the device 'inconsistent decision' which he knows only too well. He has voted on hundreds of them.

In times past these sorts of spats would be reported as 'dysfunctional' and used as ammunition to have the community elect a new cohort of councilors and community board members who may be more amenable to plans to use rating revenue to pay for the power brokers pet projects.

[there an $80,000 dispute on the action plan which is a good example]

Not to be outdone, the novice, Justine Baverstock attempted to change details of the funding allocations which had been agreed on at a workshop set up for the purpose. Now it's true that decisions can't be made in workshops, but in this case applications for funding, about four times as much as is available had been agreed on, and a list produced.

Having such allocations 'in committee' allows members to scrap over allocations without being accused of supporting their favorite causes and for examination of the claims of 'not for profit' groups many of whom are self created jobs seeking funding for causes of dubious merit.

Strats running of the meeting suggests there is another agenda being dictated elsewhere and it may be that his projects are getting no traction because the ideas he had for funding [out of retained earnings] have been scuttled by the tmo.

That additional paper was received, and Strat suggested that because it was a late item it was not to be discussed  until councilors and community board members had time to read it. Thats a 6 week layover.

Each of the above has an i-pad and can read all documents on line  and as the paper had been on line as long as the agenda there was no reason why anyone had not been able to read it. It was 'late' because the official deadline had passed.

the CFO gently made it clear that money collected from ratepayers for a purpose had to be used for that purpose or returned to the ratepayers.

He also indicates that reducing rates by reducing budgets and then having to increase them later to pay to catch up on the cost of delivering the 28 required services of council may be imprudent.

When the second most significant council employee is indicating the requirements of local government legislation to community boards there has to be a sound and logical reason.

That it is being done in public, and not in the training workshops indicates a level of seriousness and a need to record that they have been made aware of their responsibilities.

Devolution of power and control to community boards may seem like a good idea but it's becoming very expensive.

Now don't you wish you could have that standard of reporting all the time!

The annual bun-fight over the way in which the $25,000 community chest is allocated is always a hoot - probably the only time that you actually get full participation - members emerge from their torpor to fight over hundred dollar details involving their 'pet' projects, and matters can get very heated indeed - straining old alliances, and creating new ones.

On this occasion, it seems that Strat may have missed out on money for his totally superfluous Thames Focus Group that he is determined is going to change the course of history of this town . It seems that the paper I drew attention to in my post on Monday on Reserves Administration gave everyone pause as they set about spending more of the Retained Earnings Reserves on their pet projects.

Strat's attempt to postpone consideration of the paper apparently went down like a lead balloon. It will be interesting to see how Council handles the same paper - the principle is the same - borrowing to spend while reducing rates is outside the 'prudence' rule, and no amount of twisting and turning by our Mayor can alter that. 

I will append the list of allocations made as soon as I can get them:

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