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Delayed Annual Report Slowly Progresses

The delayed West Coast Regional Council annual report of 2022-23 should be rectified soon.

Risk and Assurance Committee chairman Frank Dooley said council's chief executive had notified the delay to the Auditor General prior to statutory filing deadline at the end of October.

At that time, the council was stretched, particularly as it scrambled to mop up its rates invoice mess which emerged in the last quarter of 2023.

Cr Dooley said the council's lack of resources to prepare the information needed for 2022-23 report to go to the auditor was well documented.

At the same time, the information necessary to collate the annual report had not necessarily been that accessible.

"The staff that were brought on board have had to go back and create all this historic data, so our lack of human resources and lack of systems have impacted on council being able to process this annual report," he said on May 16.

However, council was now making good progress.

Cr Dooley said the draft 2022-23 report was submitted to the auditor about February. Finalisation of the draft 2024-34 Long Term Plan saw the annual report work held back again but it should be finished in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, work on the 2023-24 report should be relatively smooth in light of the new internal systems being implemented at council, he said.

It should be filed by the October 31 statutory deadline.

"I would be really disappointed if we did not meet that deadline in 2024.

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"The work we're doing internally on debtors, that makes life a lot easier once we get to 30 June."

Cr Dooley, a retired long-time Westport accountant and first term councillor, said his first 18 months on council had caused him to question at times, "have I wasted my time?"

But he now felt "really pleased" council had now progressed an overhaul internally, which in turn gave councillors confidence in their governance role.

"It's been an eye-opener for some of the councillors who have been there for some time," he said.

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