In a move rarely used since the Dunedin City Council starting
cracking down on spending, councillors have agreed to use
underspend to complete a project, rather than to pay back
The council agreed yesterday to spend an $80,000 underspend
in its transportation operations capital expenditure budget -
money saved on a central city paving project - to complete
improvements in the northern section of Bond St in the city's
The work is part of an amenities project under way for the
warehouse precinct, but the Bond St section was going to have
to be cut because some unexpected issues, including
discovering concrete under Vogel St, led to an overspend in
the project budget.
Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose told Cr Hilary
Calvert, when she asked whether the money was not better to
go to repay debt, that the council tried to avoid the
practice of using underspend for projects, preferring in the
past few years to channel it into debt repayment, but this
was an exception, as it made more economic sense to complete
the project while contractors were there, rather than have to
pay establishment costs again to do it later.
Only $60,000 was needed to finish the basic work, but
councillors agreed to use the whole $80,000 available to
install more lighting and/or a few trees in the street, which
was likely to be the main pedestrian thoroughfare to the
central city from a new hotel being developed in the former
chief post office building.
It made sense to make that extra bit of investment to get as
much done as possible, Cr David Benson-Pope said, and it was
reasonable to show local investors, such as the hotel's
developer, the council was committed to the area's
revitalisation, particularly as the council had been quite
public about showing support for other potential hotel
projects in the city.
As long as it was not a situation where no other work was
deferred or carried forward - and he would be watching to see
it was not - putting the money into that project made
economic sense, Cr Richard Thomson said.
Councillors voted to pass a proposal from Cr Lee Vandervis to
spend $60,000 to get the Bond St work done, as per an option
put by staff, and then approved a motion from Cr Benson-Pope,
putting the remaining $20,000 towards the project.