Fight over funds for Feilding
The catchphrase "locals looking after locals" reverberated around the Manawatu District Council chamber, as Feilding Promotions staff decried the lack of funding this year.
Delivering its annual review to the council yesterday, Feilding Promotion chairman Michael Ford said funding issues had significantly affected the organisation's ability to serve the community, which was reflected in events like the Manfield Park fireworks display being cancelled.
Feilding Promotion has sought further funding from the council this year, but its requests have, so far, been denied.
Mr Ford said Feilding Promotion staff and volunteers had hauled the town out of a "slippery slide backwards towards oblivion" and needed more support from the council.
"Without these good people, this place would be a train wreck. A sad shadow of what it is today, and there would be . . . fewer people in the district to receive rates from."
Mr Ford criticised the service agreement they shared.
In the agreement, the words "objectives" had been changed to "deliverables", with a penalty clause that was "severe", Mr Ford said.
The council needed to "trust" Feilding Promotion, or they could not continue to work together, he said.
"If you think that we will squander the money . . . [or] if you don't trust us, then it is time that we part company."
Feilding Promotion's annual report highlighted more than 50 examples of community initiatives it instigated in the past 12 months, including the Farmers Market, which will host royalty next month.
Mayor Margaret Kouvelis said the council needed to consider ratepayers' best interests.
"We appreciate the work Feilding Promotion does, but we need to think about the best use of ratepayers' money."
Feilding Promotion has regularly applied for funding increases in the past two years.
The most recent request was for a 60 per cent increase, taking total funding from $262,219 to $435,980.
Operational funding is entirely ratepayer funded, and represents 30 per cent of total economic development funding.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Which sculpture do you prefer for Woodville?Related story: (See story)