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Three straight years of positive financial results and $14 million less debt than expected, are the financial highlights in Gisborne District Council’s 2010/2011 Annual Report which was adopted on Thursday (29 September).
This year’s operating surplus of $450,000 follows surpluses in the two years previous. These surpluses - $7 million in total - are being used to offset debt.
Council’s debt is $33.9 million which is $14 million less than predicted when the budget was set. “That’s about half the amount of debt that the 36 similar sized councils we benchmark ourselves against are carrying, says Corporate Services Manager Mike Drummond.
“We have been closely monitoring our cash flow and spending on capital projects. Efficiency gains over the last couple of years are still flowing through and a number of projects that were planned have not yet been completed and paid for. All this is contributing to a positive result.”
Also contributing is completing Council’s largest ever capital project - the new wastewater treatment plant - on time and under budget. The project has won a number of awards and results show it is delivering cleaner water to Poverty Bay.
“The success of the project has given Council the opportunity to develop its project management capacity, says Chief Executive Lindsay McKenzie. “These skills, combined with positive financial results, are the building blocks we need to move forward.”
“Annual report time is an opportunity to share stories about our successes and disappointments. During the year we have welcomed in a new Council after the local body election late last year. Four new Councillors with fresh ideas have been since introduced to the business of Council.”
“The regional roading project has been completed. This $30 million government funded project upgraded many roading networks to enable forest products to be delivered to mills and the port.”
“Innovative work by our rivers people is helping to keep the Waiapu River away from the doorsteps of the Ruatoria township. Groynes have been installed to redirect the flow of the river and the erosion of its banks.
These stories and more are highlighted in a summary of the 2010/11 Annual Report which will be delivered to all residents letterboxes the week before labour weekend.
How Council performed against a number of targets it sets each year are included in the Annual Report. Results show an improvement on last year’s results. Out of 185 performance measures, 128 targets (69%) were achieved which is a 3% increase. Most notable improvements were a 45% increase in the number of resource consents processed with statutory timeframes and an improvement in the number of requests about streetlights and roading defects addressed on time.
Unfortunately fewer people are rating our bus service as excellent and the water supply at Te Karaka did not comply with New Zealand Drinking Water Standards due to the level of Maganese found. A recent grant to upgrade the drinking water supply at Te Karaka may solve this problem in the future.
“Most pleasing is the 10% increase in people who rated the helpfulness of staff as excellent or good. This is one of many targets that are measured through the annual resident satisfaction survey,” Mr McKenzie added.
Council’s website had 200,000 more hits last year as more people use it to source information about Council. The full 2010/2011 Annual Report will be available on Council’s website from Monday (3 October 2011). For those who prefer a paper copy it will also be available from the HB Williams Memorial Library, and Council offices in Fitzherbert Street and Te Puia Springs.