KCDC Replies to Grey Power Call for Inquiry by Govt.
The Kapiti acting Mayor, Roger Booth, has rejected allegations by Grey Power that the KCDC broke its own rules when over-spending by $5million.
He says a Kapiti Grey Power letter to the Auditor General is flawed by ‘errors’ and ‘misconceptions.’
Kapiti Grey Power alleges in the letter (see story below) that the $5 million extra funding for the Aquatic Centre, and the upgrade of the Council building, should have triggered the KCDC ‘Significance Policy’ because of the huge increases over budgets.
However, acting Mayor Booth says the letter to the Auditor General ‘contains several errors as well as some misconceptions.’
Mr Booth says: “Grey Power says the extra money required to fund the Aquatic Centre build should have triggered Council’s Significance Policy and therefore required public consultation.
Several thresholds to consider
“There are a number of thresholds to consider before the Significance Policy is triggered. These include whether the project will incur operational expenditure exceeding 5% of Council’s annual budget for that year or incur capital expenditure that will exceed 1% of the total value of Council’s assets.
“Grey Power correctly cited these thresholds but unfortunately they quoted the annual budgets for 2003/04 rather than the relevant budget which is 2011/12.
“The additional funds required for the Aquatic Centre total $5.1 million. This includes $350,000 for the multi-purpose room and commercial space which will be covered by an annual sponsorship agreement, and the $1 million fund raising shortfall by the Trust. The Trust has undertaken to cover this shortfall in time.
Spending below ‘trigger’ point
“Even at $5.1 million, this figure is still well within the $8.63 million capital expenditure trigger defined in Council’s Significance Policy.”
Mr Booth says there has been no change to the operating costs and that these fell well below the threshold in the policy. He said the situation was much the same for the extra funds required to upgrade the Civic Building.
He says: “We have made it perfectly clear that we are not happy about the extra funding required for both projects. The reality is, however, that we have not reached the thresholds of our Significance Policy.
“Grey Power has also raised issues surrounding the use of money from land sales to cover the funding shortfall for the Aquatic Centre rather than rely on rates. The sale of land to the Ngahina Trust, however, is in response to a direction from the High Court.”
Money from land sales
Mr Booth said the sale of land to NZTA would only go ahead if they were successful in obtaining their Expressway consents and required the Council land that was purchased for the Western Link.
“We have already made it clear that the shortfall for the Civic Building will be funded from within existing budgets.”
Mr Booth said Council would be happy to talk to the Auditor General, Lyn Provost, “if she chooses to investigate.”