The Tasman District Council’s annual report which was adopted at a full council meeting on Thursday shows that council’s financial performance is improving with net debt reduced from $141 million in 2015 to $129 million at the end of June 2016.
The current debt is $44 million less than the $173 million forecast in the Tasman District Council’s Annual Plan 2015-2016. The Council also recorded an underlying operational surplus of $13.2 million.
Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne says council’s strong balance sheet means it is in a good position to retire more debt, continue to rebuild the emergency fund, carry funding forward for projects that were delayed this year, and deliver lower rate increases than forecast in future years.
Richard says the numbers in the report are the result of significant operational savings, increased forestry revenue, less spending needed on emergency works and disaster clean-ups, delays to some capital works and higher debt repayment. Population growth, low inflation and low interest rates had also contributed.
It is likely the council’s debt will continue to track well below the level anticipated in the Long Term Plan 2015-2025, Richard says.
Council spent $26.9 million on capital works projects over the year, including the Golden Bay Community Recreation Facility, Motueka Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade, Saxton Velodrome and design plans for the Richmond Central infrastructure upgrades which includes the Queen Street upgrade.
Chairs of the council committees were also elected at Thursday’s meeting with deputy mayor Tim King appointed as chair of the environment and planning committee with first-time councillor Sue Brown, of Golden Bay, deputy chair. Stu Bryant switched from environment and planning to chair the engineering services committee while Motueka Ward councillor Peter Canton who will chair the community development committee.