In just over a year Tauranga City Council has racked up $4.2 million in costs responding to the Bella Vista saga.

The total was expected to keep rising, with elected officials due to vote today on whether to give the council's chief executive the ability to approve up to another $1 million, if needed.

The payments were being funded from the council's risk reserve, which council staff reported was at risk of ending the financial year overdrawn.

The costs - to be presented in today's meeting - cover things such as site security, homeowner support, legal work and building assessments.

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They started accumulating just over a year ago, when the council was preparing to order the March 9 evacuation of the partly built Lakes development due to safety concerns.

The site is being monitored electronically now as security costs approach $1 million. Photo / File
The site is being monitored electronically now as security costs approach $1 million. Photo / File

Two areas - building/geotechnical assessments and security - have together accounted for almost half the total to date, each with costs approaching $1 million.

The council confirmed it still had security monitoring the site electronically at all hours, but there was no longer a guard on site each day. Extra security could be called if needed.

The costs do not include the $14 million the council paid to buy out the Bella Vista homeowners in November. All but $3.5 million of that was covered by an insurance payout.

Under the terms of the insurance deal, the council retained ownership of the properties and will be able to keep any profits it makes, after remediation costs, from the sale.

The council has not revealed its budget for the remediation but has a live contract worth just under $110,000 for the demolition and salvage of the Lakes Boulevard properties, which is three weeks behind schedule.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said he was increasingly hopeful the council would be able to "break even" following the sale of the remediated properties and the insurance payout.

He defended the council's spending, saying chief executive Marty Grenfell's move to settle with homeowners sooner rather than later had reined in escalating costs to an extent.

He also said any project involving lawyers was bound to rack up big bills.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless is hopeful the council will be able to break even after selling the remediated sections. Photo / File
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless is hopeful the council will be able to break even after selling the remediated sections. Photo / File

Andrew Hollis of the new Mt Maunganui Ratepayers, Residents and Retailers group said these mounting costs were an example of the council allowing spending on projects to "balloon out of control".

Susie Edmonds, spokeswoman for the Tauranga City Council Exposed - 2019 group, said the financial costs were a "disaster for ratepayers" and the whole situation never should have happened.

Edmonds was scheduled to address the council today about Bella Vista. She said the group was made up of citizens concerned about the financial cost of the council's handling of the development, and how and why that situation arose.

In today's meeting, the council will also review a proposed response to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's report on the council's handling of the Bella Vista development.

Bella Vista costs

Building and geotech assessment - $945,027
Assessment of future dwelling options - $68,149
Investigation - $256,904
Governance - $262,582
Legal and operations - $ $903257
Communications - $230,264
Security - $942,594
Homeowner support - $665,273

Source: Tauranga City Council