Budget blowout fears aired
Some district councillors fear the cost of the Matamata Civic Centre will blow out by an extra million dollars.
Matamata-Piako District Council has budgeted $6 million for the centre, which includes work on the town’s memorial hall, public library and council area office.
However, a staff report tabled at last Wednesday’s corporate and operations committee meeting said the ‘‘elemental estimate’’ is currently $6.77 million.
Cr Neil Goodger said this latest figure does not include furniture, fittings and equipment. ‘‘That’s got to be $300,000. It will be $7 million.’’
No council projects over the last five years have come in under budget, he said. ‘‘We are not good at this type of job.’’
Also concerned was Cr Ash Tanner. ‘‘We all know it’s going to creep up. We are starting here at something three quarters of a million above budget. I am wondering if it can be built for $6 million.’’
Conversely, Cr Garry Stanley, who is leading a council working party on the project, believes the latest figures are ‘‘over the top’’. ‘‘I think it will come in under that.’’
He said the budget includes contingency figures and professional fees which will not be reached.
Mayor Jan Barnes said the council will ‘‘fine tune’’ the latest option. ‘‘I don’t believe there will be a budget blow out.’’
There has been no commitment yet from outside funding sources, deputy mayor James Thomas said.
Cr Teena Cornes said the council ‘‘needs to move on’’ in the project. The existing centre is past its use-by date, she said.
The staff report said contingencies and ‘‘unknowns’’ can be better refined during the next phases of the project – preliminary and developed design.
The council previously planned to spend $1.5m on facilities in Matamata, but established that the memorial centre needs serious repairs, the library does not meet national standards and the area office does not meet council service levels. With a rates injection of $4 million and $2 million respectively, the civic centre will be developed over the next two financial years.