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Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Ti­tahi Bay Li­brary is an im­por­tant com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity within the strug­gling shop­ping com­plex and many res­i­dents value its pres­ence. This is re­flected in the good num­ber of peo­ple who cur­rently use it, de­spite its limited open­ing hours (which do not ac­com­mo­date any­one who has a full­time job for ex­am­ple).

Should the li­brary close, many res­i­dents will have ac­cess is­sues due to in­con­ve­nience, mo­bil­ity or trans­port. Par­ents with young chil­dren use Ti­tahi Bay Li­brary be­cause it is within walk­ing dis­tance of home or school. Re­tired peo­ple pop in when it is open to read the news­pa­per and have a chat. I have ob­served the of­ten huge piles of books re­turned to the li­brary when closed, which show that there is a de­mand for this branch.

It would be a very sad day for the Bay if the li­brary were to close. Li­brary fa­cil­i­ties are core ser­vices (along with rub­bish col­lec­tion and clean water). I urge PCC to en­sure that suf­fi­cient funds are made avail­able to keep Ti­tahi Bay Li­brary open.

I note that the coun­cil pro­poses to spend limited funds on city cen­tre re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion. Must this be at the ex­pense of the Ti­tahi Bay com­mu­nity?

ME­LANIE FISHER, Ti­tahi Bay. City Li­braries man­ager Brian An­der­son re­sponds: As part of the re­view of li­brary ser­vice lev­els to meet the LTP bud­get en­ve­lope it was iden­ti­fied that hours would need to be re­duced at some branch li­braries and that Plim­mer­ton branch li­brary could be closed.

With a need to re­duce op­er­a­tional costs for li­braries while still main­tain­ing a core ser­vice there is an op­tion to ei­ther re­duce hours at Ti­tahi Bay or to close it en­tirely. How­ever, the lat­ter would not oc­cur with­out fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity.

Cost re­duc­tions over the first five years of the LTP would im­pact on Ti­tahi Bay hours in years one and two and could lead to a re­view of its vi­a­bil­ity in year three. At this stage, un­til the final decision on the LTP bud­get, these re­main op­tions not con­firmed de­ci­sions. Ed­i­tor,

On Page 36 of the Porirua City Coun­cil Long Term Plan, there is ref­er­ence to the coun­cil us­ing a new lender.

Coun­cils bor­row­ing from banks and other lend­ing in­sti­tu­tions, are re­quired to give a charge over their rates. That’s the se­cu­rity for the loan. Ef­fec­tively it is a con­tin­gent li­a­bil­ity on ev­ery ratepayer’s prop­erty in Porirua.

This means the lender, if they wanted a loan re­paid more quickly, or even im­me­di­ately, can re­quire the coun­cil to im­pose a spe­cial rate, or sim­ply ap­pro­pri­ate rates as they are paid.

So ef­fec­tively, ev­ery Porirua ratepayer is guar­an­tee­ing Porirua City Coun­cil’s loans. How­ever, it ap­pears the pos­si­ble new lender, re­quires our coun­cil to not only give a charge over Porirua ratepay­ers’ rates for PCC loans but also the loans of ev­ery other bor­rower and the lender them­selves.

That’s like you tak­ing out a mort­gage to buy a house. When you get home and read the loan doc­u­men­ta­tion care­fully, you find you have not only agreed to re­pay your mort­gage but the mort­gages of all the bank’s other cus­tomers if re­quested and to re­pay any losses the bank it­self may in­cur.

Ratepay­ers have four very im­por­tant is­sues to con­sider:

1. Should PCC be ex­e­cut­ing such an agree­ment, with­out first pro­vid­ing full de­tails to ratepay­ers and seek­ing our spe­cific ap­proval (un­less you con­sider you have been no­ti­fied, if it’s buried in a 325-page doc­u­ment)?

2. Do you want PCC to bor­row money for the city cen­tre, buy­ing land and build­ings and a new head of­fice build­ing, when there is no busi­ness case (and no pri­vate de­vel­op­ers, in­vestors and fi­nanciers are in­ter­ested in tak­ing on the projects)?

3. If the projects do go ahead, and there are cost over­runs, de­lays, in­ter­est rate rises etcetera, are you happy that the loans to fund these non-core projects will have an ad­verse af­fect on your rates and, in turn, prop­erty val­ues, quite pos­si­bly for gen­er­a­tions?

4. And if these non-core projects go ahead, are you happy for at least an­other 10 years’ de­lay to re­pairs and im­prove­ments of core in­fra­struc­ture like water, roads, waste water and stormwa­ter?

AN­DREW WELLUM, Cam­borne. PCC Cor­po­rate Ser­vices gen­eral man­ager Euan Dempsey re­sponds: While Porirua City Coun­cil has in­di­cated it is con­sid­er­ing util­is­ing the lend­ing fa­cil­i­ties of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment fund­ing agency, it has not en­tered into any agree­ment and would not do so un­til it had fully con­sulted ratepay­ers. The cur­rent bor­row­ing fa­cil­i­ties the coun­cil has are com­pet­i­tive and are serv­ing its needs in what is a very com­pet­i­tive mar­ket. Mr Wellum, as a Greater­welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil ratepayer, may be aware that Greater Welling­ton is a share­holder of the LGFA and as such they have se­cured their bor­row­ings against all ratepay­ers in the Welling­ton re­gion.

Whilst coun­cil has sig­nif­i­cant as­sets, in ex­cess of $1 bil­lion, it is un­able to bor­row against these and it is nor­mal prac­tice to se­cure any bor­row­ings against the rates rev­enue. Coun­cil’s debt bor­row­ing will only see a min­i­mal rise fore­casted over the next 10 years as out­lined in the Draft LTP that has been con­sulted on and has re­ceived sup­port. The pro­posed debt fund­ing will largely be for in­fras­truc­tural pur­poses such as water, waste water and storm water re­newals and new de­vel­op­ments to en­sure that coun­cil main­tains the ap­pro­pri­ate level of ser­vice as out­lined in the Draft LTP.

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