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Long Term Plan Problems For Councillors

Long Term Plan Problems For Councillors

Councillors at their special meeting on 21st August took heed of warnings and advice given to them by both KCRA and Clive Boonham, along with those from Chief Executive Steve Ruru.

Councillors then had further problems in that:

• the CEO's report advised them the 2011/12 Annual Plan had not been signed off
• the CEO and senior staff will not attest to the accuracy of some of the information,
• the CEO and senior staff lack confidence in the integrity of the council systems and procedures.

Further problems Councillors needed to consider included:

• Mounting evidence that Council cannot meet its statutory requirements of funding each year’s operating expenses out of that year’s rates.
• Uncertainty about whether Council could be forced to repay the illegal rates and water charges;
• Questions as to the usefulness of the Long Term Plan (LTP) they are trying so hard to legitimise. Is it legal and will it be approved by the Audit Office?

Consequently:

• Councillors left the resolution to adopt the LTP on the table
• Councillors decided to seek further advice,
• Councillors decided to return on Thursday 23 September to again address these issues.

Ratepayers will find it hard to be sympathetic since Councillors have only themselves to blame for the predicament they now find themselves in.

If the LTP is adopted some potential consequences could be:

• The withholding of rate payments spreading like wildfire.
• An increasing determination for full, and fully independent, retrospective, enquiries to establish whether ratepayers need to owe as much as alleged,
• Whether recoveries of substantial sums are possible from parties who acted negligently, illegally, or failed to properly advise or complete contracts.

Another difficulty that faces Councillors:

• if they pass the resolution to adopt the LTP, the Mayor will have to sign it on his own as the CEO has advised he will not co-sign the relevant document to accompany the forwarding of the LTP. One can only wonder if the Mayor and Councillors fully understand what that means, and what the potential consequences are for themselves and Kaipara District ratepayers.

Having influenced the appointment of Commissioners, KCRA is now focused on

• limiting the rates increases,
• seeking input into the terms of reference for the Commissioners and to assist in the recovery process,
• and insisting on the discovery of responsibilities and recoveries to reduce Council debt and rates increases.

We are actively canvassing further membership support to help bring about changes that are sorely needed.

Check our web site for details www.kcra.org.nz

Ron Manderson
Chair
Kaipara Citizens & Ratepayers Association Inc.


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