Worst One Ever

30 Apr

My submission for this DAP.  I am not proud:-(  I could do so much better but time and health and kids and life have conspired against me this year.  I feel incomplete, I only did the key issues.

I wish to submit the following to the 2014/2015 Draft Annual Plan


1. Rates Increase
No-one likes rate increases but I believe people will accept them more if honest efforts are made to be more frugal and reduce costs.  Residents and central government have been asking for a return to core services.  The likes of parks (not stadiums) are now deemed core services to many but under no circumstances can grants to groups to employ people for running events be considered core though.   Maybe ICC would be better off soliciting feedback from the community on what they consider core services?
ICC, directly or indirectly, funded $45,000 to the inaugural Southern Wild Food Festival who in turn donated $10,000 to Rape Crisis.  Recently released public excluded Events Committee minutes show that was not the intention so we should be prepared for Rotary to return to council each year just like Southland Motorcycle Club do.  Until council stop funding events they will be making a mockery of all attempts to reduce costs in core service divisions.  For clarification, I support events but not ongoing funding of them.  Seed funding or assistance toward infrastructure that the community can use but of most importance is the ability for not for profits to have council fees waived under some circumstances.

2. Animal Services
I do not support the increase as you have a responsibility to only take fees for the costs involved in Dog Control.  Your proposal does not explain the NEED for extra funds it implies you want more ‘resources’ (money) but the service provided will only be what they should have been providing anyway.  Work smarter and effectively.

People that choose to pay the new ‘Responsible Owner’ application fee will not see return from that fee until the third year making not very cost effective or beneficial to the owner.   With the owner being assessed and the property and one would assume the dog it raises some questions.
What if the owner moves house and the next section is not fenced?  If I was assessed with a 12 year old ladbrador (for example) and it dies and I get a pit bull cross pup will that ‘responsible owner’ title remain even though other factors have changed?  It is a poor proposal with no tangible outcomes.

3. City Centre Rejuv
This money was taken by Vibrant for Vibrant.  It is not money up for grabs.  It would have been better if you had asked all that pay the rate whether they are happy for it to continue and left the attempts to take it for yourselves or Venture Southland for a different and more detailed Statement of Proposal.  Venture Southland have never been banned from acting within the CBD and therefore their current funding should include that area.  They do not need more money.  Venture need results before they take money off other groups.  ICC should not be employing people for this when it is not necessary.  Businesses need to take responsibility for themselves and Vibrant, Chamber of Commerce and the likes are their for businesses to get together.  ICC need to stay out of it.

4. Amendment
This is not minor nor does it provide clarity!!!  Before anything is done or ‘clarified’ to the community ICC need to have this verified by the Auditor General and have all info go through council meetings so we can be confident $32 million will not be called upon the ratepayers.  DO NOTHING UNTIL THE AUDITOR GENERAL CHECKS IT OVER.

5. Clean Air Scheme
If the scheme is not included in financial budgets and nor is Key Point 7 or 8 included in budgets, isn’t Key Point 1 moot?  We should be told how much it would effect rates if it is approved.  Future issues a), b), d) and e) could all effect rates.  We need more info on realistic effect on rates with so many variables.  In addition, would the $500K be from rates or loan or ???

6.  Branxholme
Could you please clarify that $6 million dollars is no longer going to be borrowed?  If that is correct, what impact on rates has the deferring meant?  Is it more likely that the deferring of this loan has bought the predicted rates increase down not the propaganda we were fed about making savings?

7. Shelter Service
Are council really considering supporting another group to provide emergency accom when the Salvation Army have walked away from the Leven Street property.  If ICC are going to be getting involved shouldn’t they try to incorporate these facilities and groups to help each other.  As mentioned in #1, ICC should be offering no fees for building work or compliance costs.  I do not consider it lost income as projects like these will not go ahead without the support of the community.  Waiving fees could be ICC support.  It would be silly for ICC to grant,say, $50K and take back $20K in fees etc with the GST being paid along the way.  Please think smarter and outside of the box.

8. Coastguard Bluff
A worthy group but I do not believe it is necessary for council to fund it as it has received significant support from the community and at close of DAP submissions they had achieved $1M of the the required $1.2M.  Let the community and true funders continue to raise the required money.

9. Earthquake Prone Buildings
I want ICC to be proactive on this issue so we don’t lose older buildings or lose smaller businesses that can’t afford the costs involved.  No use employing someone to promote or upgrading the CBD if all the shops are shut for various reasons.

10.  Rugby Park
ICC need to stay away from this.  Let the Trust fail, it will be their and Rugby Southland’s fault.  Feel free to search Rugby Park on my blog www.motupohue.wordpress.com for more of my opinion on this topic.  The Trustees are not fulfilling their legal obligations and should therefore not be helped out of a predicament they created.  ICC need to make ALL information available if they wish to raise this with the community in the future.

I would like to remind ICC that they take some rates on behalf of other organisations.  These organisations should have to front up publicly at a meeting before the DAP is circulated with the reason they want those funds increased.  Too often I see the likes of the Bluff Town Hall rate increased and cllrs have no idea why, the staff just claim the are doing what they are told and the submission period is over before you can get more info.  The AG has clarified to me that targeted rates can be raised during annual plan but ICC use the carte blanche fob off and organisations continue to be funded by ratepayers with no accountability.  Transparency and pro activeness by ICC will resolve this.

ICC have made no progress on making documents easily available once tabled (I again offer to make them available online if emailed to me) Information requests nearly always require follow up.  I want cllrs to remember they have ONE employee and agendas and LGOIMA regs are his responsibility.  He cannot fob it off.  He needs to be held accountable and comply or make his staff comply.

As always I want more quality information made available and more compliance from ICC and associated organisations.  Less public excluded is vital to gain respect from the community. I would like to see actual transparency. I still want webcasting of meetings.   I have a great interest in local government but sadly the DAP is at a time I am very busy with volunteer work.  I would loved to submit on more but time did not allow.  Therefore my final request is more hours in the day.

Many thanks and I wish to speak to my submission in the morning.

Kylie Fowler
322 Gore Street
Bluff 9814


One Response to “Worst One Ever”

  1. paulinemnz May 1, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    Hi Kylie yes I got mine into the ICC yesterday … mine were no to special rate increase to South ..re a ward election would give us the attention and coordinator would to the South City and this would not cost any extra to residents.

    I said no to the CBD upgrade as I believe the problem is the economy which no fancy up will change ie ( residents do not have the disposable income to spend up in the CBD shops) Re it wouldnt matter what upgrade they did it still would not bring in more shoppers to the inner city.

    Rugby Park, I can see as a city we will need to take over the park, to keep it open. I wouldn’t like the land been sold to developers etc ..too much history to the city in the use of the park. I ask why what how etc we need to spend $200,000 to maintain the city .. to me that figure for maintenance per annum is incredibly high, when the parks and reserves will be maintaining the grounds. I said NO WAY take over any debt this problem belongs solely with the Community trust etc whom lent the money etc and the rugby Union to sort out and has nothing to do with ratepayers full stop.

    Lastly I said I believe the council needs to start planning for the aging change in the city, and keep focused that as time goes on and more and more residents of the city will be over 50yrs which will mean most likely the main income of the city will mostly be the Govt super into the near future.

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