Putting a long list of council property up for sale prompted some vigorous debate at Wanganui District Council's infrastructure and property committee meeting yesterday.
Some of the property was reserves, including parts of Montgomery Reserve, Tenison Oaks Reserve in Oakland Ave, part of the Cornmarket Reserve in Somme Pde and the Plimmer Bush Reserve in Kauarapaoa Rd. Another piece was listed as 70 Swiss Ave and 31 Duigan St (Lorenzdale Park).
Although the properties had been listed for sale in the council's 10-Year Plan, Cr Sue Push for asset sale funds to repay council debt.
Westwood said that shouldn't count as consultation because most people wouldn't have read its detail.
Cr Rob Vinsen was clearly impatient with asset sales being brought up again. He said selling the properties could potentially pay back $4 million of the council's debt.
The cost of not selling would be at least $425,000 a year in lost revenue. That took into account the amount of interest the council was paying on debt each year, and the additional $125,000 it could be getting in rates if the properties were sold and rates paid on them.
"We can sit around here and go soft on the sale of properties and reserves, but I just refer you once again to the amount of debt this council has got, and the further requirements for earthquake strengthening," he said.
Property manager Rowan McGregor said times were tough and it had been difficult to impose a 1.5 per cent debt retirement levy on ratepayers. The levy cost the average household $14.90.
Cr Allan Anderson said he had voted against most of the council's borrowing. Ratepayers were paying $330 each towards interest on council debt this year, soon to increase to $410, he said.
There was not enough information about the listed properties, Cr Sue Westwood said. She was opposed to selling reserves, because it disadvantaged neighbouring people who used them.
Council deputy property manager Greg Morris said it was only the lower terrace of Montgomery Reserve and part of the upper terrace that was listed for sale. He said other properties on the list would need work or zoning changes before they could be sold, and sales would happen only if council got a good price.
"What we are looking for as officers is a practical work programme to take us forward."
The committee agreed to have a special meeting about the sales, and go through the list item by item. Cr Vinsen wanted his vote against that recorded.