Kaipara Mayor Neil Tiller assures ratepayers that the Council will not financially default. “The Council elected in October is strongly managing the Council’s financial position. Council engaged an independent financial consultant to review the Council’s financial sustainability and found no concerns with Council’s position apart from the debt on the Mangawhai Community Wastewater Scheme which will require management.” said Mayor Tiller. “We have already implemented some of the recommendations, including the appointment of independent treasury advisors.”
The Council has yet to formally receive the final report but according to Mayor Tiller it has found that Council’s finances are in a very manageable position. A slow down of growth at Mangawhai, because of the Global Financial Crises, means Council needs to carefully review its financial model for the community wastewater scheme. This is being done as part of the development of the 2012/22 Long Term Plan which will be widely consulted with the community in March/April 2012. This has already been explained to Council as part of the financial review process and the review of the EcoCare project provided to Council earlier this year. As the financial reviewer commented to Council, “If it wasn’t for EcoCare there would be no issues for Council.”
Mayor Tiller’s comments follow the publication of an open letter to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor by Councillor Larsen on his private website and in the press. Mayor Tiller considered this type of communication between the Mayor and one of the Councillors was most unusual. “It indicates to me a lack of engagement within the Council’s processes by Councillor Larsen. He has been given every opportunity to raise his concerns at Council, either directly with me or in the Council’s Workshop or Portfolio Holder meetings. He has not done so. He raises matters through notices of motion without discussing them and has now communicated through the press. This is not how a Council should work together.” commented Mayor Tiller.
He also noted that Council operates as a democracy and to have things happen there needs to be a majority of the Council agree. Councillor Larsen has not been able to gather the support at the Council table. Many of the items he says he has asked for have been before the Council in the past.
Cr Larsen also commented in the press that his notices of motion were being censored by a select group. The Council’s Standing Orders give strict criteria for the acceptance of notices of motion and these criteria can be exercised only by the Chair, this is generally the Mayor.
Mayor Tiller’s final comment was, “Councillor Larsen seems to want to go over old ground and re-litigate decisions made by Council in the past. To do that it needs to be supported by a majority of Council and to date Councillor Larsen has not been able to gather this level of support.”
Councillor Larsen was the only member of the Kaipara Can ticket to get elected at the last election in October. He is following the model of behaviour adopted by the Kaipara Can leader, Bill Guest, when he was a Councillor.