NZTA hesitant at $1.1m flood bill

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2012

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Convincing the NZ Transport Agency the Timaru District Council's claim for flood damage repairs was valid turned out to be "the hardest job".

"Usually they just rubber-stamp it," council's land transport manager Andrew Dixon said of the claims the council routinely make for financial assistance after floods.

But the council's latest claim for a share of the $1.1 million of damage to its roads in the three July and August floods, proved a real challenge to get accepted.

The good news was the agency had provided a subsidy of 57 per cent rather than the 55 per cent expected. That meant the council would receive an additional $22,000, leaving it to find $473,000 from its own funds.

Much of the repair work had been completed.

The slips that were well clear of the road would not be touched because there was no subsidy available for that work and it would need to be fully funded from rates, Mr Dixon said. Any fences damaged by slips would be repaired.

The district services committee agreed the council's share of the repairs should be funded from the council's disaster recovery fund which had a balance of $2.18m, whereas the contingency fund contained only $400,000.

Other options for paying for the repairs had included asking Timaru Holdings Ltd for more money, using funds from the contingency fund, reducing expenditure in other areas and funding the work from other areas with planned over-expenditure and then catching up that funding next financial year.

District services manager Ashley Harper warned councillors would need to consider putting money back into the disaster recovery fund in the next budget.

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- The Timaru Herald

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