Accountability for funding allocation
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.