Chief executive's overview
We are well placed to deliver the key initiatives and projects council has decided on, along with the full detail of the long term plan.
Careful financial management
As the mayor highlighted in explaining the plan on a page, we are conscious of affordability constraints affecting some households. While our costs are low – we have the fourth lowest total operating spending per ratepayer out of 67 councils, most of our costs are funded by rates. Our financial strategy is therefore to balance rates, borrowings and capital spending.
This is one of the reasons we are focusing on the district’s economy. During the early years of this plan, we will be implementing the economic development strategy we developed with the business community, iwi and other stakeholders.
We have also revised our development contributions policy so we can fairly assess and collect contributions to fund infrastructure required as a result of growth.
New legislative requirements
Since the 2012 long term plan was adopted, there have been some significant changes to the Local Government Act 2002 under which we operate.
As the mayor has described, in line with new legislation, we presented the major proposals in our draft long term plan using a specific consultation document. I am very proud of the process we ran and the level of positive community engagement that it generated.
We have developed a new significance and engagement policy. This ensures there is a clear process for determining when communities should be consulted about different matters. The policy is in the Supporting information document.
We also needed to adopt an infrastructure strategy that identifies significant infrastructure issues for 30 years. The key issues we have identified are highlighted in the Financial overview. The full infrastructure strategy is included in the Supporting information document.
Developing our organisational capability
As shown on the plan on a page, the council determined three focus areas which will drive the way we operate.
The first of these is to lift council performance. Our aim is to keep our community well informed about our service performance, our financial management and our progress against the key initiatives in this plan. As part of this, we are designing some new reporting tools which will make it easier for the community to see how we are performing.
The second focus area is to concentrate on core services. We are committed to delivering the best quality day-to-day services we can and I am proud of how our staff are also responding to challenges such as the major storms that have hit us. As the mayor highlighted, in this plan we are undertaking to maintain levels of service in all areas.
The third area of focus is to enhance engagement with the community. This is extremely important and we have already begun a programme within council to develop a way of delivering services and working with the community that is caring, dynamic and effective.