Published 31 January 2006
After turning traditions of local government on their head when David Hawkins was mayor, Papakura District Council reduced itself to an organisation which had no reserves & virtually no infrastructure.
After farming out the job of handling resource & building consents, among other services, Papakura’s council in its last term decided to re-examine the degree of outsourcing.
Over the past year it began to put together some of the infrastructure it had dismantled. But one thing the council found in the rebuilding process: Its neighbours, Manukau City & Franklin District, don’t want to help. The mess Papakura got itself into, it can get itself out of.
Regulatory services director Graeme McCarrison filed a fairly dismal, ugly-duckling report at the Papakura council’s meeting tonight on options for partnering the neighbours as a building consent authority.
The council received the information without comment and approved the process of preparing an application for registration & accreditation to become a building consent authority “without a partner”.
The council has to apply to become a building consent authority by May, and achieve accreditation from the Department of Building & Housing before November 2007 to enable it to undertake building regulatory functions.
In November the council hired Morrison Low Consultants to determine the council’s best options and an assessment of partnering either neighbour: “The conclusion of the project was, â€˜Given the lack of interest from either territorial authority in a partnering arrangement in respect of building regulatory services, council not pursue this option further,” Mr McCarrison said.
Mayor John Robertson, who took the Papakura role after a stint chairing Infrastructure Auckland, referred to the sad plight of the district in his regular mayor’s report to tonight’s council meeting:
“We have begun to tackle the deferred maintenance on our roading & stormwater infrastructure. The maintenance of our sewerage & water infrastructure is in the hands of United Water, monitored by council.
“It is in the maintenance & upgrading of some of the â€˜other assets’ ($30 million book value out of $355 million total assets) that we need to put some resources into if we are to meet the test of sustainability â€“ and also to met this council’s standards of cleanliness, safety & family friendliness around public amenities.
“The $30 million of â€˜other assets’ consist of assets like changing rooms & toilet blocks, community halls, the Coles Crescent council building, our share of Accent Point (parking, office, service & community facilities building), the Massey Park stand & athletic track and the swimming pool complex.
“A number of these assets are in need of serious attention â€“ a major overhaul or replacement. The source of much of the funding for major overhauls or replacement would normally be from reserves created by providing for depreciation over earlier years.
“These reserves do not exist, due to the practice of previous councils of not funding depreciation. In order to fund the upgrading of these assets, therefore, council will need to raise debt.”
Mr Robertson aid the council was exploring several new projects that would need substantial capital funding support, including upgrading the town centre and acquiring land for more reserves.
“Funding for these projects will principally be sourced from charitable trusts & donors, development contributions and the raising of debt.”
He said the council “made a good start in 2005, through our resolve to tidy up the operational side of our budget, to catch up on deferred maintenance and to fund depreciation.”
Attribution: Council agenda, meeting coverage, story written by Bob Dey for this website.