Council starts 2013 year

Tauranga City Council meetings resume todaywith most of the work for the first council meeting of the year being in the confidential agenda.

At the meeting councillors will consider Progressive Enterprises Appeal against the hearing commissioner's decision to refuse to grant resource consent for a Countdown at Bureta Park.

Tauranga city council meetings resume today.

They will also deliberate upon an Environment Court Appeal against Council Planning Decisions, and they will discuss the appointment of a preferred contractor for the Tauranga Central Business District Hotel.

The only business to be discussed in public will be Terry Newlands from the Bay of Plenty Canoe Club speaking for 10 minutes in the public form about the club's future plans.

The real issues are in the Wednesday and Thursday annual plan meetings.

Among the agenda items considered on Wednesday is the Merivale Targetted Rate, which looks like it will fail due to lack of support.

According to a pre-Christmas survey 86 out of 96 ratepayers say they can't afford it.

If it is to go any further the council is legally required to consult through the annual plan process.

Councillors are also intending to re-write their rules to cover the failure to live up to the current libraries levels of service guidelines.

The current level of service of 41 m2 of library floor space per 1000 population and 2.6 stock items per resident is not going to be achieved in the next 10 years. The only library development in the Ten Year Plan is a small extension to Greerton Library.

They can meet the stock level. The staff report is telling councillors it's questionable whether the current levels of service and floor space is the right approach, ‘moving forward'.

Two workshops on the issue have confirmed there's a preference among councillors to move away from a population based standard for library buildings, and ‘focus on making the most of what we have'.

The councillors will also debate the merits of joining the Kotui library management service. Kotui is a shared library management and resource discovery service available to New Zealand libraries on subscription, starting in 2010. It is the first subscription based shared service that enables public libraries from across New Zealand to collaborate regardless of geographical location. The National Library has agreed to own and underwrite the establishment and early years of the service until sufficient libraries have joined to make itself funding.

In other business the councillors are also considering a review of user fees and charges for charities, clubs and non-profit organisations using land and or buildings. The review is expected to be completed for the 2014/15 financial year.

A review was undertaken in 2011 which discovered inequities had settled in since the last review in 2004.

Unfortunately for the lessees, providing clarity, consistency and fairness when applying user fees and charges and aligning them with Policy direction will result is some hefty increases for the community gardens, scout groups, community centres and playcentres, from in some cases a couple of hundred dollars to $5000-7000.


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