Annual Report 2013/2014

Message from the Mayor and Chief Executive

It is with pleasure that we present the Council's 2013/14 Annual Report and reflect on our performance for the year. A notable event during the year was the local body elections last October which saw the majority of Councillors returned for another term and saw us welcome a number of new Community Board members to continue to strengthen our new local community empowerment model. The June storm event was also notable for the amount of damage caused to both infrastructure and private land around the Coromandel. The Council learned valuable lessons to improve its emergency response and these have already paid dividends in preparing and responding to subsequent storm events.

We have progressed Council's anchor projects for the Coromandel - in particular "The Cathedral Coast Walkway," which is part of our Coromandel Great Walks project, the Coromandel Harbour Project, and support the proposed Kopu through to Kaiaua section of the Hauraki Rail Trail. The Rail Trail won the Local Government New Zealand Excellence award for local economic contribution, having exceeded all predicted economic benefits, and we congratulate our partners the Hauraki Rail Trust and Hauraki District Council in this.

The Council's financial result reflects a number of factors. Other expenses were less than budgeted (in the order of $3 million). These operational savings helped us maintain the lowest operational costs per rateable property of any Council in the Waikato (according to the Taxpayer Union results). Clearly this helps our marketing of the Coromandel as not just a great place to live and work, but a cost effective one also.

In addition development contribution revenue exceeded budget for the year. This is a pleasant change from the last couple of years. Hopefully this is a positive sign for the future development within our District. 

Council continues to drive the improvement programme that was established last year around the management of its capital projects.  As a result we continue to refine our approach to capital spending.

Accordingly we have put the brakes on our capital investment programme while we address our investment decision-making systems.

During the year we have changed how we initiate capital projects to ensure that each project is desirable, viable and achievable making the process more robust. These improvements will provide better confidence in both the level of investment proposed and in actual project delivery. Although the Council has one of the lowest debt per property records in the Waikato, our goal is actually to have the right level of investment in the right projects and capital spend at the right time.

This year we have disposed of $3.9 million of capital work in progress from various projects. A substantial portion of this amount relates to decommissioning charges incurred in relation to the Pauanui Wastewater Treatment Plant. Another contributor has been where projects have been undertaken on non-council owned assets which have been expensed as we are unable to capitalise these costs. This has contributed towards a net loss of $1.6 million compared to a budgeted loss of $886,000.

For the third consecutive year we have continued to improve our performance in delivering service levels with a small improvement noted for the performance measures within this Annual Report. Overall we have achieved 81% of the measureable targets compared to 79% last year. Thirteen activities achieved 100% of their performance measures up from twelve activities in 2012/13.

Our first major shared service contract with our neighbouring councils for kerbside collection was in operation over the year. The improved service provides residents with easier and better methods for recycling and it is pleasing that this has already resulted in less waste being sent to landfills.

We would like to extend a very big thank you to our elected members and staff for their tireless effort and contribution throughout 2013/14. It has been another big year for us all with fantastic outcomes for our communities.