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Horowhenua District Council Annual Report adopted

Annual Report adopted

The Horowhenua District Council has adopted its 2016/17 Annual Report.

Overall an operating loss of $0.94 million was recorded; this was against a budgeted forecast of $3.182 million. However, a total comprehensive surplus of $43.8 million was achieved due to asset revaluations.

In all, Council spent $52.13 million across eleven activities.

Horowhenua District Council Chief Financial Officer Doug Law says Council has faced three years of deficits. “This occurred mainly because depreciation was underfunded. During this period rates increased to ensure asset renewal programmes could be completed,” said Mr Law.

In the past year, there were several key things that occurred:
• Rates income was lower by $400,000 due to lower rates penalties.
• Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō becoming part of Council – this was the main reason for fees and charges income being above budget by $1.1 million. However, it also meant increased employee expenses by $1.5 million, although this was offset by a lower expenditure of grants of $1.8 million.
• Depreciation increased by $2.6 million as major projects in business services and aquatics are capitalised, and assets were revalued.

Deputy Mayor Wayne Bishop says the Annual Report identifies that Council is getting on with the job.

“The deficit is disappointing. However, the number of activities we have undertaken and completed on behalf of ratepayers during trying times is pleasing.”

Horowhenua District Council Acting Chief Executive Gallo Saidy says there have been many positive highlights through the year gone.

“Our Council Officer’s should hold their heads high – we have performed well and achieved a number of significant projects and programmes throughout the year”. These include:

Levin Water Treatment Plant Upgrade: A new six-million-litre reservoir, doubling the plant’s capacity and providing Levin with at least 24 hours of water storage. A new water clarifier now removes silt from the intake from the Ohau River a new chemical dosing system and the installation of an ultraviolet water treatment system. The project was completed on time and within budget.

District Growth: Horowhenua is the 11th fastest growing Local Government Territorial Authority in New Zealand. More than 57 new resource consents were approved compared to the previous year, 2.5 times more subdivision consents approved and building consents lodged were 21% up on the previous year

Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom: Grants totalling $1.67 million were received in the 2016/17 year. This world-class facility will be home to the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre, the Oranjehof Museum and a Cultural and Community hub for the wider community and is set to open next month.

Foxton Main Street Upgrade: This project that was agreed to in 2010 came under criticism from some members of the public in particular about the decision to move the Foxton Cenotaph. Another round of consultation was held, and it was decided to keep the cenotaph where it is. Work on the project began in 2016/17, the footpaths are being widened to create social spaces, parking increased, refuge islands installed and while this work is being carried out Ultra Fast Broadband is being installed. Work will continue into the next financial year. Although the works are not fully completed we have so far received positive feedback from users of the Main Street.

Building Consent Process: Council gained IANZ accreditation following its latest two-yearly reassessment carried out in the last week of April 2017. The Assessors made positive comments about Council’s Team including using terms such as 'high-quality’ and ‘exemplary’.

Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō: Following a comprehensive Community Services review, it was decided that management of this facility in Levin should come back under Council’s control. The change has brought about a consistent level of service across Horowhenua, and a more collaborative approach to community events and Council Officers are now better able to support Council’s Community Support team.

Mr Saidy said the current year is challenging and Council will come under increasing pressure particularly for our building consent team.

“The Roads of National Significance Project will drive the growth of Horowhenua for more than a decade – our team face an increasing number of commercial and residential building consents as well as subdivision resource consents. Alongside this, we have an increased commitment to engagement with our residents and this will place pressure on our team.”

Following adoption of the Annual Report a resolution was put to Council that the Deputy Mayor Wayne Bishop sign the Annual Report on behalf of Elected Members after Mayor Michael Feyen emailed Council’s Acting Chief Executive on Wednesday 11 October to say he would not. However, during the meeting the Mayor who had given his apologies, messaged to say that he would now sign the report. Despite this the same resolution was adopted.

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