The Invercargill City Council's plans to restore trust and confidence in its ability to govern is likely to cost ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars.
The council estimates it could cost $70,000 of unbudgeted spending to address concerns raised by a government review, which it will discuss during a public meeting this morning.
It follows a Department of Internal Affairs request for information last month following rising tensions among elected members and the council's chief executive.
In a letter dated 18 August, the department outlined its concerns including a series of Code of Conduct complaints, the unwillingness of councillors to settle their conflicts, and several high profile projects that are testing its ability to provide strong, unified leadership.
The information will be used to inform the minister for local government and the steps she could take to assist or intervene in the local authority's matters.
Today's extraordinary meeting will be the first public opportunity to hear councillors discuss the department's request.
Previous meetings have been held behind closed doors in public excluded sessions.
Councillors will discuss their progress to address these concerns and vote on adopting a draft plan before moving into a public excluded session to appoint an independent evaluator.
In an agenda item written by the council's chief executive Clare Hadley and independent governance expert Bruce Robertson, they said the initial financial estimate covered the cost of an independent governance expert, an evaluation and an initial governance training programme.
"The DIA seeks an independent evaluation of current governance performance. It will provide a helpful reference point for governance training, and insights into other actions council can
take to resolve its differences, restore trust and confidence, and demonstrate the strong, unified leadership the minister seeks," they said.
"The draft plan is now presented for consideration and adoption by council. Once adopted, the plan will be subject to version control so that it can be regularly updated by council."
The options for training include standing orders, chairmanship, making good decisions, mediation and media training.
They also provided a six-page summary of the council's key decisions between now and the release of their next long term plan that's due by late June next year.