NRC Posts Surplus, Signs Off Annual Report
The Northland Regional Council has posted an $182,000 net surplus for the 2008/09 financial year.
The surplus is detailed in the Council’s newly-finalised 2008/09 Annual Report, which was officially signed off by Regional Councillors at their monthly meeting in Whangarei today (subs: Weds 21 October).
The net surplus is about $3 million less than forecast, however, this is largely due to a variety of ‘extraordinary’ factors. When these are taken out, the Council is effectively left with an operating surplus of $2.4 million.
Regional Council Chairman Mark Farnsworth says that’s a good result in a year dominated by the global recession and which has impacted on virtually all local authorities’ investments. (Currently, 43 percent of the NRC’s income stems from investments and grants and 57 percent from rates and charges.)
Mr Farnsworth says the fair value of the NRC’s investment property and property held for sale had fallen about $2 million over the 12 months covered by the Annual Report, although the value of its financial and forestry investments had increased by $545,000 over the same period.
The Council had also received a net $1.81 million special dividend from the Northland Port Corporation and had also made almost $1.33 million from selling shares during a port corporation share buy back.
Mr Farnsworth says an earlier-than-expected start to construction of the Northland Events Centre was another extraordinary factor on the Council’s books.
“When Council was compiling its budget early last year we had not expected construction of the Centre to begin during the 12 months the Annual Report covered, even though we already had money set aside for it. But as construction actually started in February this year (mid-way through the financial year) the cost of that work has had to be accounted for accordingly on our books.”
Mr Farnsworth says the early start has had no effect to the NRC’s overall contribution to the proposed Events Centre which will remain unchanged and limited to $13m.
He says a start to the Events Centre is one of a number of Regional Council highlights for the 2008/09 year detailed in a 16-page summary of the Annual Report, now available on the Council’s website at http:http:www.nrc.govt.nz/annualreport
Others included ongoing work to develop flood risk reduction plans for 27 Northland rivers, praise from the Environment Minister for Council’s almost perfect resource consents processing record and the launch of the Council-funded and administered CityLink bus service.
The Council’s website http://http://www.nrc.govt.nz won national and international recognition and was judged second of New Zealand’s 85 Council sites. (It won first place the previous year).
During the 2008/09 year Council staff also did much of the groundwork on a project now allowing Northlanders access to hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of aerial photography and other geographic information system (GIS) data. The changes – believed to be the first for any Regional Council in New Zealand – give public access to roughly 90% of the data on the NRC’s databases.
More than 150 projects from protecting sand dunes to pest control were also awarded a share of the Council’s $500,000-plus Environment Fund.
Mr Farnsworth says the roughly 150-page Annual Report proper will be printed over the next few days and will be posted on the Council’s website next week. Hard copies of both the Summary and Annual Report proper will also be available from Regional Council offices later next week.
Meanwhile, Mr Farnsworth says although the Annual Report measures the year that has been, people keen to address any issues raised in it will have the opportunity to do so through the Council’s upcoming Annual Plan process.