Council’s strong financial position recognised in Annual Report
Te Kaunihera o Whakatū (Nelson City Council) has adopted its 2017/18 Annual Report, with Acting Deputy Mayor Ian Barker noting the positive picture around Council’s financial performance over the last year.
“It’s very pleasing to see that our rating income was underspent by $270,000 in 2017/18 which confirms that our income from rates was very close to what we needed to fund our operations. Our ongoing strong financial management has allowed us to retain our AA Standard & Poor’s long-term credit rating”.
The 2017/18 year, like many others, was filled with both challenges and successes for Council. It rallied after significant weather events, faced some difficulties with major projects, but continued to deliver a wide range of services to the people of Whakatū (Nelson).
This year Council welcomed a new Chief Executive, Pat Dougherty who has introduced a number of changes to how Council approaches and delivers its business. These include recruiting more staff to boost capacity in key areas, developing a more realistic capital programme and introducing quarterly reporting to Council to enable greater visibility of how projects are tracking against targets.
The community response to the significant weather events in February showed how strong and resilient Nelson is. Cyclones Fehi and Gita wreaked havoc in the Nelson-Tasman region, with the response and repairs cost in the millions. The storms had an impact on stormwater results, consistent with national trends some transport goals were not met and the wet summer also impacted some freshwater targets.
Providing infrastructure and services for a city can be difficult and complex. With over 100 projects undertaken each year (and spending around $40 million), sometimes not all of those projects meet Council’s expectations.
The Greenmeadows facility was one project that fell short on delivery. Significant concerns were raised during the building process and the contractor is now working to remedy the issues that have been highlighted. Council appreciates the patience of the Stoke Community and is looking forward to delivering on its commitment - a high-quality facility that the whole community can be proud of for many years to come.
While not all targets were hit, Council still made great progress for the city. This included major infrastructure upgrades at the Neale Park Pump Station and Saxton Creek flood protection. Work continued to minimise water losses from the network and investigations occurred to determine how best to reduce the amount of stormwater that enters into the wastewater system.
The streets are brighter with the conversion of many street lights to LED’s, reducing the city’s energy usage and carbon footprint. This is a great example of Council’s ongoing investment in smart infrastructure.
A strong economy is important for the region and the Annual Report shows that the region is a desirable destination for both domestic and overseas visitors. Council delivered many successful events such as the Nelson Arts Festival and Summer Events Programme including Opera in the Park. Feedback from the public on the Upper Trafalgar Street pedestrian zone trial over the summer months was overwhelmingly positive. It proved to be a great drawcard.
Restoring and enhancing Nelson’s natural environment has been a focus of Council’s environmental activity during the year but there is still much more it wants to do. Highlights in this space are the completion of the wetland at Groom Creek under Project Maitai/Mahitahi and the launch of Wakapuaka Bursting into Life to restore the ecological values of this catchment.
Council continues to recognise of the importance of the natural environment by making it one of the four priorities in the 2018-28 Long Term Plan.
Through the dedication and determination of Council’s people and partners, it has accomplished a great deal over the last 12 months.