DCC draft annual plan 2012/13

Find links and comments to preliminary media reports at
DCC living beyond its means [all spending and debt not declared]
Links to DCC staff reports at Comments

UPDATE 21.1.12
### ch9.co.nz January 20, 2012 – 6:13pm
DCC budget proposal
Next week the Dunedin City Council will be meeting to discuss budget proposals for the 2012-2013 Annual Plan. Mayor Dave Cull says it’s not just the stadium which has created current Council debt, but a number of other issues, as well.
Video

Well, Mayor Cull would say that. However, the stadium project has been the one to expose the council to public scrutiny and awareness of a decade of mismanagement of ratepayer funds. Such that the debt per Dunedin ratepayer is now about six times the national average. As other commentators are demanding, a full independent forensic financial investigation into DCC, DCHL, DVML, DVL and CST is required.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

72 Comments

Filed under DCC, DCHL, Economics, Politics, Project management

72 responses to “DCC draft annual plan 2012/13

  1. Elizabeth

    So many reports, so many council staff pipe dreams. Slash and burn, councillors – you owe citizens some conservative management and prudence, so far lacking.

    Council meeting (Annual Plan) to be held Tuesday 24 January and Wednesday 25 January 2012, commencing at 9:00 AM, Edinburgh Room, Municipal Chambers

    (Thursday, 26 January and Friday, 27 January 2012 if required, commencing at 12.30 PM)

    Agenda – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 64.4 KB)

    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 242.8 KB) Roading Stopping Policy
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 395.1 KB) Transportation Budgets
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 1.1 MB) Targeted Rates – Earthquake Strengthening and Eco-Housing Retrofit Scheme Initiative

    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 42.2 KB) Consideration of Content/Decision Sheet [The decision sheet is to be considered in respect of each activity.]

    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 165.2 KB) Roading Encroachment Policy
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 117.9 KB) Corridor Access Requests
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 62.4 KB) Forsyth Barr Stadium Rates
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 81.9 KB) Reduction in Waipori Fund Distribution
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 52.3 KB) Community Access to DVML Managed Venues

    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 263.6 KB) Forsyth Barr Stadium Debt Servicing Plan
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 236.2 KB) Draft Community Outcome Section
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 440.8 KB) St Clair Sea Wall, Ramp and Steps
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 108.4 KB) Southern Cycleway
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 267.7 KB) Citywide Amenity Upgrades and Draft Central City Plan

    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 367.6 KB) 2012/13 Rating Method
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 104.3 KB) 2012/13 – 2021/22 Draft Long Term Plan Consultation Plan
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 46.8 KB) Former Art Gallery, Logan Park: Brief Progress Report
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 5.3 MB) Logan Park Development Plan Priorities Update
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 581.1 KB) Dunedin City Energy Plan

    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 89.3 KB) Otago SPCA – Civic Grant
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 2.2 MB) Dunedin Heritage Fund, Targeted Rates for Earthquake Strengthening and Rates Relief for Heritage Buildings
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 105.6 KB) Gallery Acquisitions Funding
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 239.1 KB) Aquatic Facilities Staff Report
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 74.0 KB) Aquatics Budget Proposals

    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 7.6 MB) Strategic Cycle Network Implementation
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 418.1 KB) Eco-Housing Retrofit Scheme
    Report – Council – 24/01/2012 (PDF, 51.8 KB) Funding of the City Safety Programme 2012/13

    DCC website link to all annual plan reports

  2. Anonymous

    Forsyth Barr Stadium Debt Servicing Plan
    Resolution 2d – Structure of capital repayments to reduce 40 year term
    The private sector debt is scheduled to be repaid after 10 years.

    This is just outrageous. Not only did the Dunedin City ratepayer get screwed for hundreds of millions in public debt but we also have to pay off their damn private funding plus interest too. They’re a callous bunch of lying, scheming bastards. And no thanks to that damned paper for doing little to maintain awareness when the ratepayer was being repeatedly taken over the barrel.

    And that Harland knock off, Athol Stephens, should have been shown the door as soon as Paul Orders stepped in.

    • Elizabeth

      Council finance and corporate support general manager Athol Stephens said it would take a simple council vote to cut the stadium’s rates to a more manageable figure of $134,000, a more than 93% discount on the $2 million charge.

      ### ODT Online Mon, 23 Jan 2012
      Stadium can’t pay rates bill
      By David Loughrey
      The company that runs the Forsyth Barr Stadium, in Dunedin, is facing an annual rates bill of up to $2 million a year, a figure it has no ability to pay. The stadium is due to begin paying its rates bill on July 1, and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) has a budget of only $200,000 to pay both the city and regional councils.
      Read more

      Shameful comments from council staff and general manager Athol Stephens. A not surprising but appalling mess.

      Comment to ODT Online:

      Stadium worthless
      Submitted by Rob Hamlin on Mon, 23/01/2012 – 8:40am.
      I have another suggestion for Mr Stephens. A commercial building that cannot even pay its own (commercial) rates is worthless and the value of improvements on that land should be set at zero to reflect that fact. Formal procedures exist for varying the official valuation figures for both the land and improvements relating to a specific title. Valuations that are this far out of line distort not only rates bills, but the financial statements of the organisations that are associated with them.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Mon, 23 Jan 2012
        Stadium $140m debt to loom large in debate
        By David Loughrey
        Dunedin city councillors will enter a political minefield this week as they meet to deal with not only the city’s budget, but what is now the 40-year period it will take to pay Forsyth Barr Stadium debt. The first day of meetings for the city’s annual plan starts today with a workshop, from which the public are excluded, followed by public meetings beginning tomorrow.

        Staff calculations show it would cost about $26 a year extra from the average ratepayer to bring the term back to 20 years.

        Read more

        Comment to ODT Online:

        Stadium
        Submitted by farsighted on Mon, 23/01/2012 – 6:53am.
        Is there really still any doubt that a full, detailed and independent forensic audit should be made of the stadium proposals, formation of the “Trust” and the financial activities relating?

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    “Athol Stephens said it would take a simple council vote to cut the stadium’s rates to a more manageable figure….” I’m in favour of this, as long as it is applied across the board to everyone who can’t pay their rates.

  4. Phil

    I’ve heard this argument so many times before. Fisher & Paykel, Fortex, Cadburys, etc, have all paid reduced (if any) rates and reduced utilities costs by using the argument that they bring more into the city than what the city would gain from rating and, if they had to pay full rates, they would move elsewhere. Come to think of it, 2 of the 3 moved anyway. But that’s by the by.

    Persoanlly, I think we should have called their bluff.

    Now, I’m going to bet, that the same line of “logic” is going to be applied here. Using that rubbish “$3 for every $1” argument, which every report around the world about a stadium viability blows clean out of the water. A stadium doesn’t bring new wealth into the city, that’s been proven. It simply centralises existing regional spending around one facility. It doesn’t create anything. That’s what differentiates the stadium from those industries receiving subsidies, and is the exact reason what it cannot be compared with those facilities.

    • Elizabeth

      ### D Scene 25.1.12
      Council debates budget (page 5)
      Plan changes stem rate rise
      By Wilma McCorkindale
      Dunedin City Council debates drastic cuts to its preliminary annual budget this week, as it targets an old-time low rates rise in the 2012/13 year of 4.7 per cent. Dunedin City Council (DCC) chief executive Paul Orders said the rise is largely taken up by the Tahuna Stage II secondary treatment of wastewater project; the Dunedin Centre redevelopment and the Otago Settlers Museum redevelopment.
      {continues} #bookmark

      Other new items include… $100,000 assistance for community groups wanting to use facilities managed by Dunedin Venues Management.

      ****

      ### D Scene 25.1.12
      Editorial
      Library plan banished to the wings again? (page 8)
      by Mike Houlahan
      Plans to build a library in South Dunedin look set to be put on the backburner – again. The library project – promised to the people of the south in 1989 when St Kilda council was amalgamated into Dunedin City – has spent subsequent years as a pariah. Councillors know the promise remains unmet but there is always some pressing new pull on the public purse. […] But there will come a time when the continual delays on this project will become embarrassing – we may already be there.
      {continues} #bookmark

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    I have always thought a South Dunedin library was absurd. The city library is too far away? Piffle. It may be too far away to walk to. It is too far away to walk to from most parts of Dunedin, for those who are not energetic walkers fit enough to carry a heavy bag of books. So there should be a library at Roseneath, Halfway Bush etc? If it is a matter of the expense of bus travel and parking from the suburbs out south the solution is not another library. If it is a need for a drop-in centre, the solution is not a library. If it is about making books etc readily available to more people the Library buses did that very well, and were local meeting places by the by. The librarian on duty would order material and bring it next week whenever possible. Subsidised regular to-the-library-door, well, near as one can park, bus service would be cheaper. Why duplicate facilities? Another Moana Pool for South Dunedin?

    • Elizabeth

      Cr Wilson is feeling tired, Anonymous. To have overlooked the previous discussion of the 40-year debt debacle suggests she was out of the country ?

      “Cr Kate Wilson asked finance and corporate support general manager Athol Stephens how the situation, of which she was unaware, had come about.” ODT

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    …to lunch, a long long lunch
    …for the count
    …of her mind
    Any other suggestions?

  7. Anonymous

    The last mention of the report was refer back to staff from FSD.
    It cannot have been approved without a Council vote.
    There was no Council vote.
    The extension to 40 year term cannot have been done legally without explicit Council approval. Athol was acting Chief Executive at the time, he did not have the delegated authority to do so – nobody does.

    This is probably the issue that stands the least chance of flying past Audit Commission investigation.

    That not-withstanding, if ANY Councillor who is a member of FSD says they cannot recall the discussion, then they should resign immediately.

  8. Hype O'Thermia

    Re opinion, has the man any idea of what it costs to employ someone? It’s not like on Coronation Street, where Mike Baldwin took on people without them even filling in a tax form, then fired them by saying “You’re fired, get out” and they got out.

  9. Anonymous

    The ODT once again has left out information which should be of interest to its readers – that is, informing its readers on how much in additional loan interest costs the extra 20 years will incur on the debt. It’s massive and a news story on its own. And although extending itself to include Cr Syd Brown in a contentious article, forgot to mention once again he both voted for the stadium and therefore the debt and went on to support the 40 year repayment option. I believe both points are essential to voters, especially those who naively return this councillor to power at election time.

  10. amanda kennedy

    Exactly. The media is supposed to hold politicians to account. That the ODT does not do this is a very powerful message that they wish these incompetents to be returned to council. Hudson and co get free advertisement as it is every time their names or faces are in the newspaper. When their part in the massive debt is not mentioned it all is makes the ODT complicit in the whole stadium debacle… and then there is the small issue of the free ODT party paid for with ratefund, being held (with no charge) at the stadium…

  11. amanda kennedy

    With no media to challenge the ODT’s narrative that the stadium debt ‘just sort of, you know, happened’, we are doomed to have old Hudson and Brown and Acklin photos forever in the newspaper and back on council. D Scene does not count, it seems pretty impotent or disinterested in the stadium con.

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Fri, 27 Jan 2012
        5% rates increase proposed
        By David Loughrey
        Dunedin ratepayers will be consulted this year on a rates increase of 5%, after three days and 25 minutes of councillors debating what should stay, and what should go, from the city’s budget during the Dunedin City Council pre-draft budget and long-term plan meetings. That figure, and the council’s proposals, will now go out for public consultation.
        Read more

        Only the general rate – which varies according to capital value – is set to rise by 5%, subject to consultation, so homes with a capital value less than the Dunedin average of $271,000 will have an overall rates rise of a lower percentage. Council finance and corporate support general manager Athol Stephens said yesterday 64% of homes had a capital value of less than the average.

        The next step for the council is a February 27 meeting to approve the plan for consultation, which begins on March 10, and closes on April 11.

        ****

        Other (Draft) Annual Plan items at ODT:

        More analysis wanted on pool
        Fiscal reality drove loan term
        Road upgrade funding push stalled
        Community housing rents to rise 3%
        Clarity sought on SPCA’s future role

        • Elizabeth

          DCC (Draft) Annual Plan 2012/13

          ### ODT Online Mon, 30 Jan 2012
          Big ships blamed for Peninsula erosion
          By Chris Morris
          Residents are calling for action to save homes from erosion on a vulnerable strip of Otago Peninsula, amid claims waves from passing cruise ships and container carriers are making the problem worse. Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman John Bellamy said erosion at Te Rauone Beach, near the entrance to Otago Harbour, appeared to be getting worse, with up to 20m of land lost in places in the past year.

          [Port Otago chief executive] Geoff Plunket confirmed he had discussed a proposed breakwater and beach replenishment project with Dunedin City Council chief executive Paul Orders earlier this month. […] Mr Orders said there was no budget for the project, and any funding would have to be considered as part of the council’s annual plan process.

          Read more

          ****

          http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/196070/plan-harbour-breakwater
          Port Otago wanted council funding for the $160,000 breakwater, but would meet other costs totalling more than the council’s share, Port Otago chief executive Geoff Plunket said.

        • Elizabeth

          The fact is DCC has done nothing, while looking after fat cats in the central city by furnishing an unpaid stadium along with various other upaid projects. Then there’s the emergency of the Otago Settlers Museum tower which desperately requires funds.

          ### ODT Online Tue, 31 Jan 2012
          DCC can react fast to erosion if necessary: Cull
          By Chris Morris
          The Dunedin City Council could resort to an unauthorised budget overspend, if required, to address erosion residents say is threatening homes on Te Rauone beach, on Otago Peninsula, Mayor Dave Cull says. His comments came after the Otago Daily Times reported residents’ concerns that waves from passing cruise ships and container carriers were exacerbating erosion that had been attacking the beach for decades.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 2 Feb 2012
          Staff to study erosion
          By Chris Morris
          Dunedin City Council staff will conduct a fact-finding mission at Te Rauone Beach, on Otago Peninsula, after claims urgent action is needed to address erosion in the area. Council operations general manager Tony Avery confirmed council staff would visit to hear first-hand residents’ concerns and gauge the extent of the erosion problem.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Mr Cull said any council funding would still require consideration as part of the annual plan process, or, if work was found to be urgent, be paid for using an authorised overspend.

          ### ODT Online Sun, 5 Feb 2012
          DCC ‘not mucking about’ on erosion
          By Chris Morris
          Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has said he will not be “mucking around” after holding talks with the head of a residents’ group claiming homes are threatened by erosion at Te Rauone Beach, on the Otago Peninsula. Mr Cull and Dunedin City Council chief executive Paul Orders met resident Hoani Langsbury on Thursday to discuss the situation.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          “It’s not in the system, at this stage, so it’s not on the annual plan radar. They’d need to make a submission to the council’s annual plan process.” -Tony Avery

          ### ODT Online Sat, 11 Feb 2012
          Plan for Moana Pool climbing facilities
          By Nigel Benson
          A proposed $2.6 million climbing facility planned for Dunedin’s Moana Pool could make the city a world leader in the growing sport, local enthusiasts believe. The 427sq m facility would be sited at the northern end of the learners pool and include an 11m main climbing wall, with a variety of routes, and a bouldering area. […] The Otago branch of the alpine club completed a feasibility study last year and Moana Pool then commissioned sketch plans from Baker Garden Architects and costings from structural engineers Flanders Marlow.
          Read more

          {Our italics. -Eds}

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Wed 15 February 2012 (page 4)
          In brief: Plan delay
          The Dunedin City Council’s annual plan consultation dates have been delayed a week. At a finance, strategy and development committee meeting last week, council policy analyst Jane Nevill said because of additional information needed, and the requirement to have the long-term [council community] plan audited, it was not possible to meet the original timeframe for consultation. The submission period had been delayed a week, now starting on March 17 and ending April 17. The hearings dates have yet to be decided.

          Published in print and digital editions of the newspaper.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ch9.co.nz February 20, 2012 – 6:35pm
          Big ticket items shelved by the DCC
          The Dunedin City Council voted this afternoon to shelve a long list of projects to try and keep the rates rise at 5%. An $11 million extension to Moana Pool is among a host of big ticket items being shelved by the Dunedin City Council. Also taken out of DCC’s long term plan are the Logan Park and Mosgiel Pool projects. Art in Public Places, and a $200,000 24-hour public toilet in the Octagon are among the 30 projects deferred by DCC this afternoon.
          Video

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 16 Feb 2012
          No cost-share deal on erosion: ORC
          By Chris Morris
          A cost-sharing deal that could help tackle erosion at Te Rauone Beach, on Otago Peninsula, has been ruled out by the Otago Regional Council before it has even been discussed. The idea of a deal involving the Dunedin City Council, ORC and Port Otago was raised by council community development committee chairman Cr Bill Acklin this week.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Report to DCC Community Development Committee
          Meeting: Monday 12 March 2012, at 2.00 PM
          Edinburgh Room, Municipal Chambers

          Report – CDC – 12/03/2012 (PDF, 78.2 KB)
          Te Rauone Erosion Background

          This report updates the Committee on a joint proposal by Port Otago and the Te Rauone Coast Care Committee to install a rock breakwater structure at the northern end of Te Rauone beach. The proposal aims to mitigate on-going erosion that has been occurring adjacent to the Te Rauone Reserve, the Te Rauone Esplanade Reserve and a number of private properties.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 17 May 2012
          Erosion protection issues complex
          By Debbie Porteous
          It is back to the drawing board for a plan on how best to address Te Rauone’s erosion issues after Dunedin City councillors considering improvements to the reserve, and whether to invest in a breakwater rock wall to protect it and private properties against further erosion, resolved instead to discuss the issue further with affected parties.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          What happened to community education, and DCC offering incentives and public recognition to schools and community groups for being ‘food safe’. The kids, and their kids, are already having to pay for the Council’s burgeoning debt.

          (Draft) Annual Plan 2012/13:
          Children’s fundraising hits snag over council fees

  12. Anonymous

    Add an extra hundred million in interest here. Penalise children for fundraising there. How much more can the DCC lose the plot?

  13. Phil

    I can understand the concern with some sausage sizzle operators making use of such events for commercial purposes. Car sales yards come to mind. And they should pay for the privilege of being inspected. But surely common sense should be able to be used here. There are some things that rates are intended for. Helping out community groups is one of those things.

    It’s also important to put this into perspective. There is one Health Inspector who is rostered on call during the weekends. When these events typically take place. And they do not spend their entire weekend driving around town. This is Dunedin, not Greater Metropolitan London. We’re not talking about a mountain of costs here. It’s not going to break the already broken bank any further if DCC continues to pick up for this cost.

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    Is there a proven need? What are the stats on illness from ALL types of food providers including eating home-prepared food? This looks like either another tax by stealth via paranoia, or the extreme safety at all costs butt-covering impulse running amok. Funny the way NZ has embraced both extreme sports and extreme safety.

  15. Peter

    Environmental Health folk get a bit too earnest in protecting us from food handling germs. They may mean well, but it all seems to be getting ridiculous with this quest against germs. Obsessive hand washing is a case in point. I seem to remember somewhere ‘the authorities’ recommend two minutes of warm, soapy hand washing, plus a meticulous drying process. Seems like a scrub up for surgery.
    I remember my daughter, when she was at primary school, at some point coming home after a ‘proper hand washing’ lesson from some health bods. Kids being kids, she took it all on board and before we knew it she was washing up to the elbows! All very amusing.
    Is the next progression, we only shake hands with plastic gloves on? You don’t know where those other hands have been, do you.

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    What about the theory that increases in asthma are down to immune systems that don’t get enough regular work on ordinary environmental bugs and react by going into random over-activity? There seems to be fairly good research behind it though it’s not demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt yet. But whether it’s the whole story or not, we have to be damaging our immune systems by unreasonably reducing exposure to low levels of bacteria such as children and adults regularly encountered when there was more outdoor activity, less panic about eating a sandwich you’d dropped in the playground, and so on.

  17. Peter

    If the council is smart, they will promptly knock this politically inept proposal on the head and be seen to be responsive to citizens who collectively, I’m sure, think the proposal is bonkers. It is these small irritants that people latch on to because they can be easily understood as opposed to financial stuff.

  18. Phil

    First up, well done to DCC for seeing some common sense about the sausage sizzle. Continuing with it would only have buried them.

    But, Ros. Ros. Stop bailing and start swimming. Why on earth resort to just making stuff up, which is so easily shown up to be false ? Was there any shame in simply saying that DCC had reconsidered the proposal and had agreed it was a bad idea ? What was wrong with that ? After all, it is the truth.

    Last week, the proposal was given to Council for consideration. Now, Team Leaders do not give reports to Council. There are about 30 Team Leaders within the DCC ranks and it would be absolute chaos if they all stuck letters and reports into the Councillors’ pigeonholes. That simply doesn’t happen. There is a set format which must be followed in order for a staff report to reach the Council table. The handling officer (in this case the Environmental Health team leader) writes a report using the standard approved format document. It then gets sent to their manager (in this case Development Services Manager Kevin Thompson). Once the manager has approved the report, they countersign it. The report then goes further to the Group Manager who, if they also approve of the content, also signs it. It then gets forwarded to the DCC Governance Team who check the format and file it for inclusion in the next Council meeting.

    It is impossible for a Team Leader report to go to Council without being both read and approved by their manager. Ros’ comment that Tuesday, the week after Councillors had read the report during their Annual Plan meetings, was the first time she had discussed it with her manager, is simply not possible. Maybe she thinks she’s being a team player offering to take the fall herself, but surely telling the truth would have been no great tragedy either.

    Prior to supposedly discussing the proposal with her manager for the first time, Ros had a detailed conversation with a DCC reporter in which she justified her proposal. Would a team leader of 10 years give a media quote about a proposed bylaw change that her manager had no knowledge of ? Give me a break.

    Simply saying that it was a mistake and a dumb idea, would have been ok. But to go further and say that the real reason was that it was too much of a hassle ? What was the hassle ? They were obviously already doing the inspections, otherwise there wouldn’t have been the idea to start recovering costs. So no change there which would have caused any hassle. It costs DCC $10 in internal costs for each invoice they issue. So the anticipated $5,000 would have only resulted in about $2,000 actually reaching the vault. I suspect that the only hassle was in proving exactly how much bad publicity one can buy for $2,000.

    The Environmental Health team does a good job. But at times they could use a leader who actually has genuine environmental health credentials. Rather than just a former nurse. This isn’t the first time that Ros has swum out of her depth. She was also the author behind the sheep poo bylaw proposal which lasted about as long as it took to make it to front page news.

  19. Calvin Oaten

    Phil, an excellent summation of the procedural processes inside the DCC. One would almost think you are part of it. However, the chain of command (can’t think of a better description) is absolutely appalling. No wonder folk like Cr Lee Vandervis is clamouring for a serious reduction in staffing levels. Bureaucracy gone berserk. THIRTY team leaders, good God alive, what do they all lead? And just how many do each have in their team? The idea (report) goes to the handling officer (in this case the Environmental Health officer), he/she writes a report “using the standard approved format document. It then gets sent to their senior manager (in this case Development Services Manager Kevin Thompson). Once the manager has approved the report, they countersign it. The report then goes further to the Group Manager who, if they also approve the content, they also sign it. It then gets forwarded to the DCC Governance Team who check the format and file it for inclusion in the next Council meeting.”

    All this to do with school sausage sizzles!!! Staggeringly amazing. Absolutely no commercial business in a competitive environment could possibly operate along those lines. Obviously there is no consideration of the financials in these processes, it is just other peoples’ monies which just appear by filching from the poor sods back pockets. No wonder bureaucrats are held in such low esteem by the public generally, just leaches sucking off the hind teat like so many zombies. Poor old ‘Ros’, why should she cop any flak for just following the insane culture? You are right though, she should start swimming, or better still, get in a fast car and leave that sick place as fast as she can. Or is it that she has suffered a frontal lobotomy like the rest would appear to have. How anyone can put in a day in that environment and go home contented eludes me. “Houston, Dunedin has a problem”, a mighty BIG ONE!!!

  20. Hype O'Thermia

    All that reporting and passing the message on! So much wasted time, so many opportunities for ideas to get tweaked, elaborated, the important core arguments left out and a set of lurex place mats inserted in their place.
    From Wikipedia article on the game of Chinese Whispers: “As well as providing amusement, the game can have educational value. It shows how easily information can become corrupted by indirect communication.”
    One can think of 30 places to insert the place mats instead, and that’s just for starters.

    Sorry about that, I was having an uncharitable moment.

  21. Phil

    Development Services is probably the worst example within the DCC, but it’s not isolated. If I have it right it includes the “odds and sods” teams which really don’t fit in anywhere else, such as: animal control, building control, environmental health, liquor licensing (2 people), and (I think) parking services. Each of these small groups has their own leader (yes, even liquor licensing) who is responsible for recruitment, funding, and the day to day running of their group. Now, I agree that there needs to be some kind of vetting system in place for reports intended for Councillors. Otherwise they would be forever wading through various knucklehead schemes such as charging for sausage sizzles. But one step is enough. I struggle to see the need for a “Development Services” sub branch, the manager of which seems to serve the purpose of walking up a flight of stairs to hand deliver a report from one of the teams to their Group Manager. All other departments report directly to their GM, there’s no reason why those groups can’t also do the same. The Development Services Manager position adds nothing to the process and is completely surplus to requirements. Save a few bucks and free up a rather flash office there, Mr Orders.

  22. Anonymous

    Kevin Thompson. There is another insitutionalised manager full of self-importance in the council. His replies to letters in the media feel brusque, arrogant and have a subtle whiff of a threat… “Keep on this path, writer, and I’ll find a way to make your life difficult.” This view has often explained the attitute of those further down the bureaucratic ladder in lower-middle-management and team leaders. But 30 of them? Can you imagine the pecking and brown-nosing going on at that level!

  23. Russell Garbutt

    More than time for Parkinson’s Law to be compulsory reading for Mr Orders.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 3 Feb 2012
      Councillors not moved by campaign
      By Chris Morris
      A marketing campaign promoting active lifestyles in Dunedin appears to be a flop with city councillors, despite the civic leaders voting to spend more than $100,000 funding it. […] It was hoped another $25,000 from the council’s active city budget would be approved for 2012-13 as part of the council’s annual plan process, and funding was being sought from community funding organisations.
      Read more

  24. Calvin Oaten

    “Councillors not moved by campaign.” Why? Perhaps old “Rodders” should have promoted it heavily in his ‘City Talk’. On second thought, one can understand why he didn’t. After all, it would be tempting fate for him to suggest anything faintly physically energetic. He would be in a sweaty funk just thinking about it.

    • Elizabeth

      City Talk, Calvin?
      That used to be delivered to my address, but for several years now it hasn’t been. Every time an issue is published I have to ring DCC Customer Services to have it mailed to Pitt St where 5 other apartments in clear view of the street don’t get it either. NZ Post finds us daily, but DCC mail contractors can’t seem to. So maybe that’s another bunch of inadequates not moved by the campaign.
      I note a Dunedin resident put pen to paper at the ODT recently saying the same thing – no matter how many times we request delivery of City Talk and provide our addresses, Customer Services passes the message on to Rodders, and nothing happens! Lazy sod.

      • Elizabeth

        Interesting!
        And I thought DCC only supported Octagon bars?
        Sneaky partnership? DCC/NZMG & UoO & Stadium (DVML)

        “In response, council and i-Site staff said they were surprised at the complaint.”

        ### ODT Online Fri, 3 Feb 2012
        Motels claim DCC breaking agreement
        By Bruce Munro
        Motel operators are feeling betrayed by the Dunedin Visitors Centre’s promotion of student halls of residence to Masters Games participants. More than 6000 out-of-town Games participants and supporters are expected in Dunedin by this weekend for what is New Zealand’s largest multisport event.
        Read more

  25. Hype O'Thermia

    Who owns the relevant halls of residence?
    There seems to be, despite the mouth-exercises, an attitude of something approaching hostility to private enterprise.
    Amendment: hostility to private enterprise NOT controlled by steak-holders. Mince eaters can sink or swim, and don’t come complaining to us, we’ve got important things to get on with. Like mico-managing sausage sizzles and other small no-known-problems fund raisers.

    • Elizabeth

      The DCC butchery…

      • Elizabeth

        As a colleague from the accommodation industry fairly points out, this should be the busy season for moteliers, so what are they doing wrong?

    • Elizabeth

      ODT claims the moral high ground as ‘first messenger’…

      ### ODT Online Tue, 7 Feb 2012
      Editorial: Some sausage sizzle sense
      While the Dunedin City Council has to watch its pennies as it tries to rein in every possible cost and earn every possible dollar, the proposal to charge for charity sausage sizzles was an idea with little merit. For the sake of $5000, notwithstanding the associated cost of handling and processing the money, council staff suggested charging schools, clubs and other not-for-profit groups a $16 fee for their sausage sizzles when food is being sold in public. The fee was part of a move by the council’s environmental health team to offset the rising cost of policing a growing number of fundraising events and community markets.
      Read more

  26. Peter

    What are they complaining about? They supposedly did well with the RWC. That’s life. Swings and roundabouts. The Halls of Residence are lucky this time.

  27. Elizabeth

    Report – CDC – 07/02/2012 (PDF, 6.5 MB)
    Otago Settlers Museum Redevelopment Update

  28. Phil

    So the Settlers Museum managed to raise $10 million in private funding ? I suppose they must have pre-sold admission tickets for the next 5 years because that’s clearly how one classifies private funding.

  29. Calvin Oaten

    Interesting to note that in the current Plan the capital expenditure programme shows over the years 2010-11 through 2012-13 a total of $44.5 million including $6.6 million of borrowing costs. Doesn’t specifically mention any private funding of $10 million. If it is included, the ratepayers are still carrying $34.5 million not including the additional sum of, I think about $8 million approved this year for the new entrance pavilion. So, it is not all just about the Stadium, though that is the biggest elephant in the room.

  30. Calvin Oaten

    “An authorised overspend”, what’s different about that? Isn’t that what they have been doing for the last ten years? So, by Mr Cull’s criteria, everything that has priority can be excused as an “authorised overspend”. I like that. It is what I term a license to bankrupt the city.

  31. Calvin Oaten

    What do you reckon Elizabeth? A pelting with rotten cabbages and excreta, or something red hot and glowing “upem”?

  32. Hype O'Thermia

    Anne Hunt, http://www.councilwatch.org.nz/columns/column_0212a.htm :
    “When decisions are made by a select few without the transparency that is supposed to be the cornerstone of local government legislation then citizens have every reason to take to the streets and demand the reinstatement of their democratic rights.
    “I must confess that as a councillor the first I knew of our own CEO’s pay rise in 2011 was when I read about it on the front page of the Dominion Post last week. I’ve checked through the list of council meetings last year and can see no reference to any meeting of the Chief Executive Officer’s Performance Agreement Review Special Committee. Nor have I seen any minutes of that committee come up for adoption. If anybody asks me to justify our CEO’s pay rise, I’m completely in the dark. I can’t even say who authorised the pay rise.”

    We’re not alone. Look how many councils have spent till they landed their communities deep in the long-drop. This is no longer about incompetent councillors or council staff, it’s about a system that (gee thanks Michael Bassett) is well stuffed. It needs more than a special chap or chappess popped into towns TV makeover style like they were going to stop the dogs ripping the sofa or clean the mice out of the kitchen. It’s the best anyone’s got so far – see Christchurch – but it’s not enough. It’s sticking plaster and homeopathy where what is needed is diagnosis by forensic audit, followed by excision of the necrotic processes, application of antibiotics chosen for their ability to target the causative factors, and the introduction of a programme of rigorous fiscal hygiene – and there’s no point in treating one council at a time, this hygiene has to be imposed on all, no exceptions, so that those that have not yet contracted “Financial Abuse of Ratepayers by Kakistocracy” will stay safe.

  33. Anonymous

    It seems Dunedin City Council’s environmental health team leader (who comes up with these titles?!) Ros MacGill is still bailing. There was an interesting letter in today’s ODT questioning what food poisoning incidents have been recorded necessitating sausage sizzle policing. The response is classic DCC management hilarity and even slipped in references to their wash-hands-and-sneeze-into-a-tissue ads. That’s some clever product placement – a team leader surely deserving of a $20K manager’s computer and big screen upgrade.

    What’s next with these muppets? Bottom inspections?

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Thu, 9 Feb 2012
      Peninsula cycleway still on track
      By Chris Morris
      Dunedin city councillors have moved to allay community concern over delays to Otago Peninsula cycleway and roading improvements, by bringing forward about $3.3 million worth of work on the next two stages. The decision at yesterday’s infrastructure services committee meeting meant funding would be pencilled in for the 2014-15 year as part of the council’s draft long-term plan, to be consulted on over the next few months.
      Read more

      Report – ISC – 08/02/2012 (PDF, 314.6 KB)
      Portobello Road/Harington Point Road Funding

  34. Hype O'Thermia

    ORC sticking to core business, like giving money to the stadium. Nice.

  35. Bev Butler

    A good sign that the council can make the hard decisions when it sets its mind to it. Credit where credit is due.
    Now how about the stadium’s ballooning costs, now and in the future?

  36. Calvin Oaten

    Echos of the ‘Little Dutch Boy’ sticking his finger in the leak in the dyke.
    About as effective as well.

  37. Peter

    For those who haven’t yet read this week’s Listener I recommend you buy it. The lead story is on council debt and proposed new reforms by National – including the ‘back to basics’ emphasis on core council activities and the abolition of regional councils. More amalgamations may be on the way, but for local bodies to initiate rather than be imposed by central government. Nick Smith expresses concern for the rate of increase of council rates, above the average inflation level, over the last ten years. He is concerned some councils may go bust and is not sure how the central government will manage it…..if at all. (Let’s hope he doesn’t turn out as useless as Hide and runs away from the issue.)
    Strangely, no mention is made of the DCC’s debt problems, despite earlier national media publicity, mid to late last year, and the increasing national awareness of the stadium albatross for Dunedin.
    What is clear is that it was the Labour Party that sowed the seed for this increasingly worrisome issue, particularly with its 2002 ‘reforms’. You may remember the Shand road show on increasing rate rises in 2007, commissioned by Labour. Read what this turkey has to say. Looks like he was a government stooge. This is one issue the Labour Party has to rethink, but when you read what Bob Harvey and Len Brown have to say, I don’t think there is much chance.

  38. Phil

    It wouldn’t purprise me if there has been pressure applied from central government to play down the debt situation in Dunedin in the major press. We were never fabulously wealthy, but we were managing. Until the stadium came. And what dragged the timing of the stadium forward into a time period when we would require massive debt in order to build it ? The Rugby World Cup. The same Rugby World Cup which promised riches and glory for all. I guess that my share of the spoils is still in the post. The same Rugby World Cup that got a car load of circus clowns re-elected, despite their best efforts to do otherwise. There is no way that the sacred cow is ever going to be allowed to be smeared by negative press of this magnitude. It’s still good for a few votes more in 2 years time.

    Luckily, there is a back up plan. If the world media ever gets wind of exactly what has happened here, we just blame it all on Greece.

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