Es­ti­mates 99pc ac­cu­rate

South Waikato News - - OPINION -

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.

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