I W WALKER The headline story on the front page of the Taupo & Turangi Weekender of December 13 makes a lot of sense and the Taupo¯ District Council should now add the option to lease a council administration building to its options. The council currently has one of the highest debt levels per capita for any New Zealand local body of around $150 million and with the further proposed expenditure of $50 million for the council administration building, this will grow to $200 million. The benefits of leasing a suitable administration building as opposed to building should now be seriously on the list of options for the following reasons:
■ There is no capital investment required by the council so debt levels remain where they currently are.
■ The costs of leasing are met by ratepayers revenue.
■ There is currently widespread concern by many ratepayers and residents at the use of the Tongariro Domain for the council administration building and leasing elsewhere would overcome this.
■ The organisations such as Rotary, the bowling club and other service clubs can continue to use their existing facilities.
■ In time as the council’s requirements change the ratepayers are not faced with perhaps trying to sell or lease a purpose-built building on prime land in Taupo¯.
■ The Tongariro Domain is currently designated ‘Crown Reserve’ and at present cannot be built on so this removes the need to change its status.
■ If the new building proposed for the RSA site was used, this ensures the council remains within the CBD and accessible by all ratepayers.
■ There is generally good parking available in the Horomatangi St area.
The leasing option provides the council with more flexibility, better use of resources and keeps the debt lower. It also leaves the Tongariro Domain as it was always intended. NEIL CHAVE Editor’s note: Taupo¯ District Council advises that as of the end of October its gross debt was $144 million and net debt $24 million.