Ac­count­abil­ity for fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion

South Waikato News - - OPINION -

I was in­censed and in­cred­u­lous at the an­nounce­ment on your front page that the Pu­taruru Tim­ber Mu­seum is go­ing to swal­low up the best part of an­other half a mil­lion dol­lars. It would ap­pear that each time a fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion is made to the mu­seum it is done be­hind closed doors and with no pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion big ideas are put for­ward, the money is spent and the town sees no re­sult or ben­e­fit. Both the coun­cil and the chief ex­ec­u­tive must re­alise that they are ac­count­able; we the ratepay­ers em­ploy them and the sys­tem of gov­er­nance is based on democ­racy – not dic­ta­tor­ship.

If there is to be any fur­ther fund­ing for the mu­seum it should be done af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity and a sep­a­rate board should be formed to over­see the al­lo­cated spend­ing as it is patently ob­vi­ous from prior ex­am­ples that it can­not be man­aged in house. A cost to ben­e­fit as­sess­ment should be un­der­taken be­cause un­less the busi­ness is go­ing to pro­duce real and sub­stan­tial ben­e­fits in both jobs and eco­nom­ics for Pu­taruru the money might well be bet­ter spent en­cour­ag­ing es­tab­lished busi­ness to re­lo­cate to Pu­taruru with the of­fer of a rates hol­i­day or other fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive.

I will add that I per­son­ally see some very good points in the pro­posal put for­ward and it would be a real achieve­ment if it was suc­cess­ful. I do feel that ex­pert opin­ion should be sought to max­imise the po­ten­tial and min­imise the risk of an­other white ele­phant. C Tot­ter­dell

Pu­taruru Coun­cil re­sponds: The de­ci­sion to al­lo­cate fund­ing to the tim­ber mu­seum for fur­ther devel­op­ment was made dur­ing the pub­lic al­lo­ca­tion of the South Waikato Devel­op­ment Fund (of $4.5 mil­lion) in 2007 when $600,000 was no­tion­ally al­lo­cated.

The trust has since up­lifted $200,000 for cap­i­tal im­prove­ments and this re­cent fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion is for the re­main­ing $400,000.

This re­port formed part of a Cor­po­rate and En­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee agenda at a pub­lic meet­ing held on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 16.

A num­ber of ex­perts from en­gi­neers to mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als have been con­sulted dur­ing the pro­posal’s devel­op­ment.

It is the role of elected mem­bers to make de­ci­sions on be­half of the com­mu­nity.

One of the other re­cip­i­ents of a por­tion of the devel­op­ment fund was Waikato River Trails – they were al­lo­cated $800,000.

It is im­por­tant to note that sub­stan­tial fund­ing of this na­ture is of­ten used to lever­age other fund­ing, like the $3.4 mil­lion Waikato River Trails re­ceived from the Na­tional Cy­cle Way Fund.

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