Resource Recovery Trust granted additional $30,000

Extra funding is to be provided by the Waitaki District Council to the Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust, easing its financial difficulties and the pressure to either lay off staff or restrict opening hours at the Chelmer St resource recovery park in Oamaru.

In a report to yesterday's council meeting, staff had recommended an extra $20,000 for the trust, but Cr Hugh Perkins successfully moved for an extra $10,000 to be added to that, increasing the grant for this financial year from $210,00 to $240,000.

In addition, the council also carries out maintenance at the park, estimated at $10,000 a year, and does not charge a rental, estimated to be worth $40,000 a year.

Trust chairman Neville Langrish, in the public forum before the meeting, said the trust and resource recovery park had been a "community success story", but warned that because of financial pressure, it faced laying off some of its 30 staff or closing.

The "funding crisis" it faced was not through bad management, but extra charges and costs imposed on it.

Contacted after the meeting yesterday, Mr Langrish said the trust could work with the extra $30,000 the council had allocated through to the financial year.

It would also be looking at cost-cutting measures, having set a target of a 5% reduction.

However, the trust may have to go back to council with proposals for one-off capital grant - one possibility was installing a conveyor belt for recycling which would reduce staff and costs.

At the public forum, Mr Langrish said the trust had been continually warning the council it would run out of money this financial year.

The trust budgeted to earn $500,000 from its own operations this financial year, which included sales of recycled materials and income from its retail shop.

The recommendation to the council also included a list of where the money should be spent, but councillors voted against imposing that, effectively making the grant "bulk funding", with the trust to determine where it would be spent.

Some councillors were not happy with that. Cr Jim Hopkins believed the council had a duty to ratepayers to indicate priorities for spending the money.

Cr Perkins said it was inappropriate for the council to insist where the money was allocated. There were competent trustees and management to make decisions about managing the business.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz

 

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