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TUGPRA - What Every Ratepayer Should Know!

The 'big pick' of TUGPRA's pocket took place today when the Community Board was provided with its forecast out to 30 June 2021, based on assumed interest and endowment farm income. For those who are puzzled by the acronym - it stands for the Thames Urban General Purposes Reserve Account. A fair summary of the history of the Account is contained in the Paper that went to the Community Board today.

The bottom line is that Zoom Zone, (now to be known as the 'Thames Community Sports Facility') - an indoor sports facility at the High School, will take $1.558m from the fund on 30 June 2015, and $.781m on 30 June 2016. Total $2.339m. At that point, the remaining TUGPRA Account will stand at exactly $500,000 - the least amount that is permitted to be held in the fund in accordance with the policy governing its use.

It is estimated that the Account will stand at $1.652m by 30 June 2021 which is the earliest that the new Swimming Pool (estimated cost - $15m) will be able to access any of its bounty, assuming that the Zoom Zone Sports Facility does not make further inroads into the Account in the meantime, in the event that its un-finalised budget estimates fall short.

We were assured today that the fund-raising for the Sports Facility is well on the way to meeting its target, which is good news indeed! We will watch with interest as this project that appears to be almost totally being  run out of Greg Hampton's office comes to fruition. 

It would seem that many individuals, along with a determined sectoral group will be benefiting from this fund that actually belongs to every Thames rate-payer. It seems that this fund that has been so carefully nurtured through generations of councils and councillors has been successfully burgled while rate-payers have slept.

And one final piece of information - the $2.2m that was originally to be allocated from the Fund that was also meant to cover the Skate Park, is now exclusively for the benefit of the Zoom Zone - the Skate Park is now  to be funded from the Thames Depreciation Reserves - another indefensible device designed to maximise the Zoom Zone allocation.  

And our Communiy Board has been fully complicit from the outset. 



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Reader Comments (3)

So that leaves pretty much, ahhh, nothing for anybody else.
I can only hope that every day this fine sports facility is crowded with users and there are events by the score booked in for years to come....
The revenue projections including anticipated usage stats will make interesting reading; in much the same way as the Whitianga sports complex stats stacked up - but wait, we (the rate-payer) didn't see that business case did we? No, probably only the elected representatives and a few chosen staff were privy - just where the whole sorry saga ought to have been consigned - to the privy that is.

November 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

You would seriously think with that amount of money going out of the TUG account then the Board might have had a binding ratepayers referendum first--no??
An obscene amount of money to be spent on some folly foisted upon us by a weak board chairman and a couple of his mates. As Russell alluded too --have we all forgotten about the cost overruns of the Mercury By Sports facility?. Leach made much about the previous Councils efforts over that project--- did the current Council not learn anything from that debacle?. How much are the professional fund raisers getting out of all of this money so raised?
As Russell pointedly asks -- who is going to use this facility and more importantly-- who is going to oversee the operation of such a facility?
There are more questions than answers on this one---and meanwhile the grandstand/changing rooms at Rhodes Park, where my children play rugby, are almost to the point of needing demolition. Look at Rhodes Park on most week nights and weekends --- the car park is full, the courts busy as and some form of contact sport is being played on the fields and yet no money is being spent there--criminal to say the least.
The Thames Board has been hijacked by sophisticated, savy business people, aided and abetted by weak leadership, with no cross reference to the ratepayers, who will no doubt end up footing the bill when things go awry. Oh the smarties will say--'they had their opportunity when the 10 year plan was advertised' -- really--most ratepayers would have very little understanding of how that system works -- but no worries, 'our leaders know what is best for us'.
Add this amount of money to the vast sums spent by the previous board on a 'future' plan for Thames and one could rightly think we have been duped. Nothing in that hairbrain, ill conceived 'future' scheme has come of fruition and now under the same Board chair/ Area manager, we are spending millions more --- roll on 2016 when hopefully more business minded people will stand for the Board -- Thames needs strong leaders--not whimps!

November 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTyre Kicker

Though not from Thames, I have good historical knowledge of the TUGPRA. In the years before 2004, it was used in a way that benefited all Thames Ratepayers equally insofar as it was used to subsidise and reduce the amount payable for the Thames wastewater system, which until that date was funded by the Thames 'area of benefit'.

In 2004, then Councillors Goudie and Sharp both voted to have all district wastewater systems funded by a uniform 'one district charge' and as part of this, they also supported removing the use of the TUGPRA money to subsidise Thames wastewater.

Goudie and Sharps actions were the biggest disaster that ever happened to Thames Ratepayers as not only are they now consistently paying about $300 more per annum for their wastewater, but the TUGPRA money could no longer be used in an equitable way for all Thames ratepayers, but became 'up for grabs' by whoever established the political clout to claim it.

Let's be clear, all Thames Ratepayers benefited equally from a wastewater subsidy / cost reduction, but not Thames Ratepayers will benefit equally from a sports facility that targets only part of the population.

Want to know who to blame for this, which by any test of reality must rate as a complete debacle?

Goudie and Sharp, that's who.

Due to their 2004 actions, not only are Thames ratepayers currently paying $300 more per year in rates for wastewater because of the inequity of One District wastewater charges but an approx further $200 discount of the Thames wastewater charge has been lost due to the TUGPRA discount having been lost.

So Goudie and Sharp are individually responsible for $500 of extra, unnecessary funding on every Thames Ratepayers account.

Will people in Thames ever truly wake up to just what these two have done to them?

I would love to surprised on this matter and think they would, but I doubt it will happen.

Dal Minogue

November 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDal Minogue

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