Vanessa van Uden
The Queenstown Lakes District Council has given its
support for an enlarged rural fire district for Otago, subject
to a full financial review of the entity after one year.
Central Otago District Council chief executive Phil Melhopt,
who is driving the proposal to amalgamate the region's rural
fire authorities, attended the final full meeting of the
present QLDC in Wanaka to discuss the proposal.
QLDC principal rural fire officer Gordon Bailey has
recommended the council support an enlarged rural fire
district and approve a three-year funding commitment to the
entity based on the forecast of operating expenses and
existing contribution ratios.
Cr Mel Gazzard and Mayor Vanessa van Uden expressed concern
about the increased operating costs of the entity for the
first year, which are forecast to be $240,000 higher than the
combined funding rural fire authorities can release from
Ms van Uden suggested funding be approved for three years,
but not at the level proposed until after a full financial
review had been carried out at the completion of the first
year of operation.
''One of my discomforts was the allocation model for those
additional costs ... we ended up paying marginally a bigger
cost [than other rural fire authorities in the region],'' Ms
van Uden said.
Mr Melhopt said it was likely some of the higher costs
allocated to the QLDC would drop away in the future.