Letter: Ratepayers should get say

Last updated 12:16 27/08/2013
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Should the CBD discussion be held in public excluded?

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No

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OPINION: Poll: It's strange that the public, at today's council meeting, will be allowed to hear Denise Corson's presentation on the inner-city upgrade but then excluded while the councillors discuss it. There should be no need for secrecy at this stage.

Should this happen, it will commit the new members of the council to something that they may not agree with.

It may even conflict with their feelings on how this whole project is being driven.

They may be of the opinion that any such decisions should be delayed until it is known what future the owners of these old earthquake-prone inner-city buildings have in mind for them.

In Saturday's paper, Cr Norman Elder quotes from page 15 of the long-term plan, stating $6.6 million had been budgeted for inner-city revitalisation.

He omitted the next bit, which reads: ''The $6.6m loan was to be serviced through the Business Development Rate, which is a [targeted] rate on all commercial rating units''.

I believe that money carried forward from one year to the next, in this case $1.3m, can be applied only to the purpose for which it was originally collected.

This $1.3m. and the $995,000 taken from reserves, are unused rates the result of over-rating us in the past, giving rise to that saying ''It won't cost the ratepayers anything, it is coming from reserves''.

That $6.6m loan, qualifying as being a ''significant sum'', should be approved by the ratepayers before being raised. The reason being that while councillors can come and councillors can go, the ratepayers are stuck with the debts they incur in our name.

ALAN SWALLOW
Invercargill

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- The Southland Times

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