Council fines questioned

Councillors believe some fines too small to recover costs.

Councillors believe some fines too small to recover costs.

COUNCILLOR Andy Cranston has claimed at Gisborne District Council that fines and charges for littering and allowing stock to wander are inadequate.

The council was setting its draft fees and charges for 2017/18, and Councillor Cranston said the council had a three-tiered system of fines for littering, for which the highest penalty was only $400.

In many cases, such as a big trailerload of rubbish, the council would have to pay more than $400.

“Is that fine adequate to cover really big littering offences?” he asked.

At Makorori Point one year there was a huge commercial incident that cost the council a lot of money.

He also said there was a great range in cemetery charges, and was surprised to see fines for driving in a dangerous and inconsiderate manner, which he thought would be a police matter.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said staff would look at the fines for large-scale commercial incidents.

Bill Burdett said the council had a maximum fine of only $100 for staff “going out and collecting cows off the road in the middle of the night”.

Untold damage

They could cause untold damage if there were an accident.

“These are not punitive enough and you know the problems in our northern area. It is time we got real,” he said.

“Sometimes you have herds of cattle, or 10 or 12 horses on the road. Then you have the issue of unregistered dogs and there are heaps of those.

“Has anyone looked seriously at these charges and taken advice as to whether they line up with other charges, or are we just sending our people out on dark, wet nights to do a job?”

Acting environment and regulatory services group manager Lois Easton said most of the fines were set by the Government under the Local Government Act and the council had a very light regime. The council had to set the fines available to it which was why the littering fine was so low.

The cost of work to police offences such as wandering stock was based on the actual hours charged to staff. It was a cost recovery service.

Mr Burdett asked about abatement notices to make farmers fix their fences.

“Do we have a charge for that or do we just say fix your fence?”

He was told the bylaw was being reviewed. The council was told that most charges and fees had been increased by 2.6 percent, mostly as a result of inflation.

Rental charges for community houses, theatres and the library will remain the same.

To align with the Dog Control Act, there will be a 25 percent late penalty on dog registrations paid after July 31.

The council is waiting for the outcome of its public consultation on parking before setting these fees.

The aqua fitness charges at the Olympic Pool have been reduced to $6.50.

COUNCILLOR Andy Cranston has claimed at Gisborne District Council that fines and charges for littering and allowing stock to wander are inadequate.

The council was setting its draft fees and charges for 2017/18, and Councillor Cranston said the council had a three-tiered system of fines for littering, for which the highest penalty was only $400.

In many cases, such as a big trailerload of rubbish, the council would have to pay more than $400.

“Is that fine adequate to cover really big littering offences?” he asked.

At Makorori Point one year there was a huge commercial incident that cost the council a lot of money.

He also said there was a great range in cemetery charges, and was surprised to see fines for driving in a dangerous and inconsiderate manner, which he thought would be a police matter.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said staff would look at the fines for large-scale commercial incidents.

Bill Burdett said the council had a maximum fine of only $100 for staff “going out and collecting cows off the road in the middle of the night”.

Untold damage

They could cause untold damage if there were an accident.

“These are not punitive enough and you know the problems in our northern area. It is time we got real,” he said.

“Sometimes you have herds of cattle, or 10 or 12 horses on the road. Then you have the issue of unregistered dogs and there are heaps of those.

“Has anyone looked seriously at these charges and taken advice as to whether they line up with other charges, or are we just sending our people out on dark, wet nights to do a job?”

Acting environment and regulatory services group manager Lois Easton said most of the fines were set by the Government under the Local Government Act and the council had a very light regime. The council had to set the fines available to it which was why the littering fine was so low.

The cost of work to police offences such as wandering stock was based on the actual hours charged to staff. It was a cost recovery service.

Mr Burdett asked about abatement notices to make farmers fix their fences.

“Do we have a charge for that or do we just say fix your fence?”

He was told the bylaw was being reviewed. The council was told that most charges and fees had been increased by 2.6 percent, mostly as a result of inflation.

Rental charges for community houses, theatres and the library will remain the same.

To align with the Dog Control Act, there will be a 25 percent late penalty on dog registrations paid after July 31.

The council is waiting for the outcome of its public consultation on parking before setting these fees.

The aqua fitness charges at the Olympic Pool have been reduced to $6.50.

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