Estimates 99pc accurate
As chief executive of the council I feel that ratepayers are missing important facts regarding the wastewater treatment project headlined in the paper last week.
There was a significant difference ($250,000) between the cost estimated for this project and the prices we received to actually do the work; and council appreciates that this may concern the community; however:
1. Over the past 12 months we have undertaken almost 150 capital projects. This is the only one that has required additional funding. Most years no projects require additional funding. So, 99 percent of the time our estimates are very accurate.
2. We knew this project was complex and therefore sought assistance with the estimates from acknowledged experts in this field. We considered this a prudent way of minimising the uncertainties.
3. Would the project have gone ahead if we had known the true cost? The answer is: Yes, absolutely. Firstly, it is no longer environmentally acceptable to risk sewage sludge seeping into the ground. Something had to be done. Secondly, even at the higher cost, the sludge drier is still the cheapest option available.
4. While projects that cost more than estimated often make headlines, the many projects that are delivered under-budget are hardly ever publicised. However, there are a number of projects, such as UV treatment for Putaruru water that will be achieved for less cost than was budgeted. It is therefore highly unlikely that the under-estimate reported last week will have any direct effect on rates.