Council is financially sustainable. This is the overall finding of a report prepared by PJ & Associates. The report points out that Council will need to carefully manage debt into the future but at this time has no significant issues. The report also says Council needs to improve routine financial reporting.
Mayor Neil Tiller said “the report is what it is, a ‘warts and all’ comment on Council’s financial health. Council’s debt is higher than many would like but Council’s finances are still in a very manageable position. Problems could occur if Council does not actively manage its debt. This is the same for any organisation or individual who does not manage their debt well. Let me be clear – Council is actively managing its debt, it has sought expert advice and it will follow that advice. Council has already begun implementing some of the recommendations, including the appointment of independent treasury advisors who will assist Council with the management of its debt and investment portfolio.”
He went on to say “Council will not be defaulting on any of its loan payments. Council has in recent times incurred additional debt due mainly to the Mangawhai Community Wastewater Scheme. The Council was left with little choice than to exceed normal debt level criteria when the implementation of the Mangawhai Scheme became urgent following increasing levels of human sewerage finding its way into the harbour. This debt now needs to be actively managed as does any debt and your Council is doing this.”
Council will also be reviewing all its financial and rating policies as part of the Long Term Plan process and the financial sustainability report itself will be “workshopped” as part of this same process.