Council’s Waiata move
The $655,000 spend on the move to Waiata House by Masterton District Council is a $200,000 blowout from the provisional budget in the 2018/19 plan and it is angering residents.
The council will retain the lease on 161 Queen St where its front counters will stay.
About 77 staff and Mayor Lyn Patterson are to move to Waiata House, with relocation likely by the end of July.
The council took possession of Waiata House in February in an empty state though it was cabled and had air handling services.
The council’s office building was closed in June 2016 and council staff have been in offices in Queen St, Bannister St, Perry St and the 1980s part of the District Building on Chapel St.
They’re cluttered workspaces that bring inefficiencies and the new office will be a modern space and an opportunity to work in a new way, a report to the council meeting on Wednesday said.
A recommendation to approve the expenditure of up to $655,000 was carried.
The design brief was for a minimalist look with quality furniture, clean design, and colour schemes which created a cohesive brand for council.
The council’s existing furniture was described as old and tired and doesn’t match.
As a consequence, $343,347 was being spent on new furniture.
The report said consultant Spaceworks helped with designing the internal spaces and furniture options, including procurement by a tender process, and building alterations had been kept to a bare minimum.
Council had been holding meetings at REAP House and other buildings around town and there would now be a regular meeting room in Waiata but it would not be a council chamber.
The meeting room would double as the emergency management operations room when required.
There was $60,000 for a generator, including a pad, in the budget.
Chief executive Kath Ross said it was a flexible space.
The money would be drawn from the district building depreciation fund and the IT equipment depreciation fund.
Council was told the balance of these two funds at June 30 was expected to be around $2.85 million, therefore an additional $200,000 drawn from these two funds would only have a minor impact on the 2019-20 interest income budget.
Council decided in late 2017 to purchase Waiata House from Masterton Trust Lands Trust.
Even though it is a new building, it had earthquake risk problems and the trust took longer to fix them than expected.
There was outrage at the spending on social media, given it came as the council approved an average 4.35 per cent rise in rates residents already regarded as high.