Western Bay of Plenty District Council has adopted its 2019/20 Annual Report.
In a statement released to media, the council says it has come through one of the toughest years on record with a relatively strong balance sheet compared to other councils in New Zealand.
Council’s chief executive Miriam Taris says Council has continued careful management of its operating expenditure while retaining its level of public services to the District.
“Council balanced management of operating expenditure by considering the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and household incomes, as well as ensuring that our delivery of public services continued.”
“In light of the economic constraints on households and our community groups, Council has also been able to commit $300,000 to helping those groups severely financially impacted by COVID-19 through its Community Resilience Fund.”
In April 2020, Council adopted its Economic Recovery Plan to support the local economy and provide relief from the impact of the pandemic.
The plan was based on four key themes: direct Council financial support; wider economic recovery; community well-being and relationships with iwi/hapū organisations and marae.
Some highlights of the Recovery Plan were:
• $300,000 distributed to 49 local groups financially hit by COVID-19. This saw the creation of Council’s Community Resilience Fund, a consolidation of Council’s two traditional funds – the Community Matching Fund and Facilities in the Community Fund
• waiving annual rent charges for Council owned reserves and buildings for 12 months for sports clubs and community organisations
• Targeted rates relief initiatives.
Growth in the District slowed somewhat during the year, but considering the economic challenges, it remains strong.
- Non-notified sub-division consents were down to 165, compared to 177 in 2018/19 and land use consents were down from 315 in 2018/19 to 297 in 2019/20
- There were 224 properties added to the District during 2019/20, bringing the total to 23,691.
Despite the challenges during the year, Council has achieved some highlights including:
- $400,000 awarded through Central Government’s Provincial Growth Fund for the development of a digital hub at Pātuki Manawa in Katikati
- Continued construction of the Omokoroa to Tauranga Cycleway
- Completion of 7.1km of seal extensions, 9.3km of pavement rehabilitation, and 1359 metres of new footpath
- Installation of cell-phone coverage at TECT Park in collaboration with the Rural Connectivity Group
- Resource consents offered digitally – aligning with Council’s commitment to making things easier for customers
- Delivery of a capital works programme of $30.34 million in the 2019/20 year
• Continued reduction of net debt from $180 million a decade ago, to $75.5million today - $5 million of that reduction has been achieved this financial year.
Council is required to prepare and adopt an annual report and financial summary within four months of the end of the last financial year.
The Annual Report compares Council’s actual performance for the year against what it forecasted in its Long Term Plan and Annual Plan.
For the full Annual Report visit: https://www.westernbay.govt.nz/council/plans-policies-strategies-bylaws/plans/annual-reports