Council's bill for water crisis past $700,000

By Victoria White -
4 comments
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule at a public meeting on the Havelock North water contamination crisis last week. Photo / Paul Taylor
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule at a public meeting on the Havelock North water contamination crisis last week. Photo / Paul Taylor

The Havelock North water contamination crisis could cost more than $700,000 of ratepayers' money.

In a Hastings District council meeting tomorrow, it will be recommended $710,000 is allocated in response to the "Havelock North water contamination incident".

Since early August, around 5200 people have been affected by the campylobactor disease after the Havelock North water supply was contaminated with E.Coli.

It is proposed funds be drawn from the 2015/2016 rating surplus to cover a rates remission, business recovery package, and additional cost provision.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said this was not the end of costs for council, but at the moment its focus was on providing immediate assistance to those affected by the contamination, "where we can".

There could be further costs down the track, he said, citing more testing once the source of the contamination was found, and legal costs. Council would determine how to fund these if, and when they came up.

Of the allocation proposed tomorrow, $300,000 will cover a rates remission for Havelock North residents.

Last week the council announced it intended a remission of water rates consisting of $57 to any property connected to the Havelock North water supply.

Another $110,000 would go toward Havelock North businesses. Of this, $10,000 had been made available to the Havelock North Business Association to help it support its members.

The remaining $100,000 was part of a recovery package for Havelock North businesses who had suffered financially from the contamination.

The council report stated the criteria for the allocation of this money was being developed, with a recommendation that delegation be given to chief executive Ross McLeod to determine the final criteria.

It was also recommended $300,000 be set aside to cover expected additional costs.

"It is expected that funds will be required to meet additional water testing requirements, engineering and technical investigations, water supply planning and enquiry support cost".

It was recommended the chief executive be "given delegated authority to redirect Economic Development budget carried forward from 2015/16 for any additional initiatives programmed for the revitalisation of the Havelock North Business Community".

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