A Word from the Mayor
30 March 2017
Even in the midst of disruptive and unplanned disasters, normal processes do, and need to continue, Council Annual Plan (Budget) processes being one.
To recap, Local Government follows Ten Year ‘LTP’ (Long Term Plan) planning cycles when budgets are set for each year of the ten year plan.
Each year, that particular budget is reviewed and fine tuned, every three years the LTP undergoes substantial review, giving the opportunity for major changes if necessary.
The three year review is timed for the second year of the Council term so that new Councillors have a year to become familiar with planning processes and understand the wisdom, or lack of wisdom in the current Plan, before they have an opportunity to make significant changes.
Prior to the Earthquake we would have expected that this years Annual Plan would have been straightforward with little tweaking required.
However as our neighbours will well know, events of the scale of the Canterbury Earthquakes and our Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquake are no respecters of well laid plans.
Over the last four years we’ve done a huge amount of planning for the current 10 year LTP and 30 year Infrastructure Plan.
We believed this Plan would responsibly and affordably manage Hurunui debt levels and rate requirements.
Our Finance Strategy set self imposed total debt levels that left significant headroom to increase debt if the unthinkable occurred, and it has!
We set rate takes that stabilized and reduce debt over time, ensured depreciation accumulated to provide future replacement capital, and ensured we could afford to meet all obligations.
These obligations include the costs of running a democratic local authority that meets all statutory obligations, obligations of maintenance and replacement of Council infrastructure, road networks, water supplies, sewerage, community infrastructure, and planning and compliance responsibilities.
The Earthquake has obviously caused millions of dollars of damage, Government will assist with some funding but at this point we’re not sure how much.
This year’s Annual plan will now require significant tweaking, but our strong balance sheet and the financial strategy we have in place will stand us in good stead to meet the unexpected and significant Earthquake recovery costs, with no expected significant earthquake related rate increase.