In-house move thrifty

Forecast savings from a reorganisation of the Tasman District Council's engineering department have leapt from a predicted $710,000 in the third quarter of this financial year to $1.384 million.

The council's engineering manager, Peter Thomson, told Thursday's engineering services meeting that all of the council's engineering staff had contributed to the "extremely good" result which was based on consultancy savings, for cost-efficient delivery of capital projects work and operational cost efficiencies.

Since 2000, the council had mostly used private contractors, found through a competitive tender process, to provide some services.

But in November 2012 it decided that moving the services in-house could deliver more cost-effective and efficient results, and would be more responsive to ratepayer needs.

The council predicts it will continue to save up to $1.7 million annually over the next three years.

Thomson said the savings would contribute to the council's debt reduction programme.

Meanwhile, ballpark figures indicate the April 17 storm could cost the district's council around $1.4 million to repair damaged roading, rivers and coastal protection.

In his report to its engineering services meeting last week, transportation manager Gary Clark said the estimated $400,000 to $500,000 of damage to roads could be absorbed in current budgets.

The council may look to claim the $100,000 to $400,000 in coastal work and $100,000 to $400,000 in river work from Civil Defence. "But I will be surprised if we get anything," Clark said.

The Nelson Mail