Reserves Fund Query

otaki mapOtaki Beach resident calls on Board to spend reserves money for all community

By Alan Tristram

Otaki Beach resident Ann Lawler is urging Otaki residents to put pressure on their Community Board drop plans to spend over a quarter of a million dollars on a children’s splashpad. 

She says the Reserves Fund sum of $255,000 should be spent instead on 10 projects which would benefit the whole community, not just children aged from two to eleven years. 

In a letter to KIN, Ms Lawler says:

‘All subdivision applicants contribute to a Reserves Fund for recreational facilities in public parks and reserves.

otaki beach‘The money is spent on projects and facilities for general community benefit which are on Council reserve land, are new, and are for wider community use.

‘Otaki Community Board is currently considering spending $268,000 on a splashpad – used 5-6 months a year by 2-11 year olds.

‘I would prefer that $255k was spent on ten different Te Horo and Otaki projects that the whole community would use year-round.

‘Otaki has a swimming pool/paddlers pool and lots of playgrounds.

‘The beach has limited facilities and teenagers have one– the skatepark. Otaki youth

‘Paraparaumu and Levin’s flying fox, BMX tracks and moutain bike trails are 25k away –and there is scant public transport.

‘Taking Otaki’s walking and cycling tracks to the standard of the rest of Kapiti would help, eg Otaki River Walkway’s dangerous north and south banks.

 Once all ages in the community have amenities to use year round, Otaki can afford fun – but luxury items – such as a splash pad.’

 And Ms Lawler is asking other residents who share these views to tell their local Otaki Community Board member — James Cootes 364 3234, Rob Kofoed 364 6154, Christine Papps 364 2004, Colin Pearce 364 6488.

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Ms Lawler adds:

 The following was sent to all OCB members. It is included for reference.

What is the Reserve Fund and what can it be spent on?

All subdivision applicants must contribute towards recreational facilities in public parks and reserves. The money goes into a Reserve Fund spent on projects and facilities for general community benefit. The Fund cannot be used to fund sports club clubhouses or facilities for sole use of sports groups.

 

How can the Reserve Fund be spent?

To qualify for the Reserve Fund, projects must (a) be on Council reserve land (b) be new, and (c) be for wider community use.

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Kia ora for that James. I hear what you have said and understand how some processes work having experienced the action taking place on some occasions myself. I cannot disagree with anything you have said and I fully understand your frustrations. Catch up sometime. Regards

Sorry type here should have read as…

At the peak of the recession the OCB was aware of those struggling in our community and there was a meeting where as a board we asked if the reserve fund money, instead of being spent, could be diverted to the Otaki ward rate to reduce it by 1% (in relation to the money we had) and we couldn’t as it WASN’T allowed under the legislation.

Regards.
James Cootes.
Chair – Otaki Community Board.

Graeme I certainly hear what you are saying and like you I don’t like rate increases. The fact is a quick look through the media sites looking at the regional newspapers you will find articles complaining about their respective council and their level of increases. I’m not sure there are any that have residents around NZ congratulating them on a job well done.

I never stood for this job because I like politics in fact I almost hate “politics”… I like helping people… making a difference. But what I often see is the tension or politics between Central Govt and Local Govt. In the last couple of years we have seen Central Govt pass onto Local Govt to implement, resource and fund the following…

1) The Expressway
2) Coastal Erosion
3) Fluoride Debate
4) Changes to the Building reg from leaky homes.
5) Earthquake prone buildings
6) Amalgamation/Re- Organisation

All these things have been major items to tackle and have drawn on staffing and ultimately come at a cost to the ratepayer as council has tried to fund these changes and now Legal Highs can be added to that list!

At the peak of the recession the OCB was aware of those struggling in our community and there was a meeting where as a board we asked if the reserve fund money, instead of being spent, could be diverted to the Otaki ward rate to reduce it by 1% (in relation to the money we had) and we couldn’t as it was allowed under the legislation.

So some of the change people are wanting really stems from Central Govt taking responsibility for issues they’ve left Local Govt to deal with. Fluoride is a good example of this that couldn’t have been done Nationally and led by the Govt.

The argument or reasoning is that if the money isn’t used for the purpose it was intended then the Developers would argue that it is not needed and shouldn’t be collected. Ironically there are changes currently before the select Committee that if they go through in there current form could see a 2% increase in our rates due to the loss of revenue the Developers Contributions brings to KCDC’s budgets. If these changes go through the Council and community will have to have a close look at what it can deliver to keep rates affordable….

That’s not to say there aren’t issues in KCDC around processes and policies etc and certainly improvements can be made however its even more challenging when the above list is added to mix! What I can say is that I do observe those involved… staff and elected members trying to make those changes, trying to improve.

Regards.
James Cootes.
Chair – Otaki Community Board.

Tena koe James, thankyou for your response as chair of the Otaki community board. I am aware that when a new subdivision is formed that a developer has to contribute or allocate money to the reserves fund. I guess my short brief didn’t exactly spell out or explain my frustrations on this topic and I wasn’t pointing the finger directly at the community board, but rather pointing the finger at the processes that are in place. These need to change, the act as it is written needs to change. I guess that can only come about through lobbying, not a quick fix by any means. Perhaps what is even more frightening is what is happening behind the scenes where central government is looking for ways to extract more money from ratepayers, let alone the taxpayers. Would be interested to hear in your thoughts on this. Kind Regards.

Kia Ora Graham. Your response is a classic example of mis-information and in-accuracies. The Reserve Fund is NOT money collected from your RATES. It comes from Development Contributions or in simple terms from Developers when they do a subdivision. It is the Boards delegated responsibility to spend this money, we have no choice and are required to under the Act. We do this in consultation with the community and the requirements around what it can be spent on and where are quite tight. To be fair there is of course ongoing cost around repairs and maintenance but again we cannot simply choose to not spend it for the reasons mentioned earlier.

Regards.

James Cootes.

Chair – Otaki Community Board.

Good question Ann. I don’t live in your area but I would like to know ,why are we hell bent on spending for the sake of spending when we have money to spare every time? Or is this just money to waste. This seems to happen in all community’s. No wonder our rates just keep going up and up.