Every item on local board agendas concerning the allocation of SLIPs money comes with this warning:
13. All 2014/2015 projects should have budget allocated to them within the first quarter of the 2014/2015 financial year; to enable commencement and completion prior to 30th June 2015.
14. Most projects will need eight months or more to be successfully delivered within the 2014/2015 financial year. Projects that have budget allocated to them with less than six months remaining within the current financial year will be at risk of not being completed by 2014/2015 financial year end.
15. Budgets for projects funded from 2014/2015 SLIPs capital expenditure and SLIPs operational expenditure must be fully expended within the 2014/2015 financial year.
1 Putiki Bay Action Plan – Contribution to boat removal costs $15,000
2. Te Ara Hura maps $3,600
3. Onetangi orientation Signage $2,500
4. Onetangi Sports Park landscape plan (top up) $3,000
5. Marine survey top up $10,000
6. Honours board $1,000
7. Waiheke Recreation Centre – grant to progress operational works $22,000
8. Putiki Reserve $5,150
There is no explanation in the minutes as to the rationale behind each of the listed expenditures, as required for SLIPs projects, and all have been added in haste without much thought, but three in particular need further examination:
1. $15,000 Putiki Bay Action Plan boat removal
2. $22,000 to the Waiheke Recreation Centre
3. $10,000 for the Marine Reserve survey
- All the boats have been removed and $200,000 of ratepayers’ money has already spent on upgrading the facilities for the liveaboards, who pay no rates, on the Causeway. What possible justification can there be for spending another $15,000 on the ‘action plan’ when it has already been enacted?
- The Waiheke Recreation Centre is on school grounds and has very limited access for the community. What does it mean ‘progress operational works’ and why is the money a grant with no accountability? Who is actually administering the $22000? SLIPs money is not for grants and opex cannot be used for capital works so where is the money going? Who profits?
- Another $10,000 for the marine survey? Why? $30,000, a huge amount for a survey, has already been spent on the survey. Once again there is no justification, no accountability and no transparency.
At the end of the financial year there are often small sums left over, but a prudent Board would have had a plan for wash-up expenditure in place. The first Waiheke Local Board always had on-going weed management programmes where small sums could be allocated if necessary to cleaning up the environment.
It is because of mismanagement like this and expenditure on items inappropriate for SLIPs with no officers reports to give accountability and transparency for the public on how their hard earned cash has been spent, that has caused the Governing Body to withdraw SLIPs funding from Waiheke. The WLB have frittered it away on plans, surveys, consultants, and themselves with little or no tangible benefit to the community.
The public of Waiheke needs to take note. Mismanagement of their money by this Board should give us all cause for concern. If it gets its hands on all our rates money through the push to de-amalgamate from Auckland Council the writing is on the wall. We would see waste on an unprecedented scale and all be so much poorer.