The PJ and Associates report on the Financial Health and Sustainability of Kaipara District Council has now been released in the public section of the Council’s business papers.
I am pleased for the ratepayers that the issue can now be debated more broadly and I am looking forward to the contribution to the debate from the Kaipara community.
I stand by my willingness to apologize if my comments about the issues raised by the Report are in any way wrong. I said “If all those documents are available to the public, and I am wrong, then I will be the first to apologise.”
On a plain reading of the report, the Mayor’s assurances were at least a little optimistic.
In his media release of 14 July the Mayor stated that the financial review –
“found no concerns with Council’s position apart from the debt on the Mangawhai Community Wastewater Scheme which will require management.”
However the report starts out by stating -
“The major financial issue facing Council is the amount of existing debt and the lack of cash reserves. The current financial position is largely caused by two significant contributors - the funding of the Mangawhai wastewater scheme and the costs of the District Plan review. In addition future expenditure for the improvement of infrastructure assets will require additional loan funding as Council has no cash reserves. Current Council debt, while not reaching Council's limit under its borrowing policy, is considered very high and poses future risks for Council.” (my emphasis)
The financial issues for Kaipara are not simply the matter of a badly executed wastewater scheme. As this quote demonstrates there are many issues – and that is only one small part of the report.
It does not, and has not, seemed to me wise to excuse all the above issues by referring only to the over-budget Mangawhai EcoCare scheme when clearly it is only one of the issues that Council must face up to and deal with.
A copy of the report is available here, and I would appreciate any feedback preferably in the comments section on the blog here or else by return email.
Kaipara District Councillor
Ph. 021 185 8389