The Hurunui District Council has signed off its Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2012 with a clear Audit opinion

The 2011/12 Annual Report showcases some excellent results in prudent, fiscal responsibility as well as reflecting the effects of the global economic recession, the impact of the Canterbury earthquakes (particularly on insurance premiums), adverse weather effects on infrastructure as well as increased compliance costs.

Council recorded total comprehensive income of $15.46 million. This is the result of a net surplus after tax of $91,000 plus a significant increase in the value of the Council’s water assets. Operating Revenue was $30.75 million, which was just over $1.0 million greater than that predicted in the Annual Plan. Operating Expenditure was $30.65 million, which was $2.0 million greater than was predicted in the Annual Plan, the key variances being: insurance premiums, depreciation and increased value of interest rate swap liabilities.

On top of the surplus generated for the year, the Council recorded an overall increase to the value of its Utilities assets of $15.37 million. The increase being largely attributable to the value of the rural water supply assets. The District Council now owns $352m of assets on behalf of our residents and ratepayers. At 30 June 2012 Council’s debt was $12m.

During the year significant cost savings were achieved in major maintenance contracts which reduced the extent of rate increases for the district at large. The transition to the new contracting arrangements was not as smooth as had been hoped for in some areas. The levels of service required under the contracts in the road maintenance and grass mowing areas were not all met by the contractors and contract penalties were imposed as appropriate. Council kept a careful watch on the situation to ensure improved service provision resulted.

During the year a number of projects were completed or progressed including:

• Installation of a new library management system
• Reviewing the District Plan
• Roading drainage and sealing work
• Adoption of the Waste Minimisation and Management Plan
• Progressing the Amberley transfer station relocation
• Investigation of the Waipara & Culverden Sewerage Schemes
• Progression on the Queen Mary Hospital Historic Reserve
• Disbursed $25,000 in grants and awards
• Continuation of the Hurunui Youth Programme

These, and other projects, were in addition to Council’s ‘business as usual’ activities in the areas of Community Services and Facilities, Environment and Safety, Growth and Development, Utility Services and Infrastructure, The Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa, and Governance.

Across all council activities we ‘met’ or ‘mostly met’ the vast majority (77) of our 94 targets and are working to improve those areas where the targets were ‘not met’.

“Our primary concern when preparing the programme for 2010/11 was affordability” said Mayor Winton Dalley. “We were cognisant that the New Zealand economy was and is still shaking off the effects of an economic downturn, and we developed a plan which we believed to be financially responsible. Among other things, we strived to leverage maximum returns from the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa to the advantage of the entire district. Overall, we are pleased with our performance over the year despite the difficult economic environment.”

Mayor Dalley noted that despite the difficult financial conditions that the Council had largely achieved its planned programme of work and had generally performed well against their targets.

“The majority of the projects outlined in the Annual Plan had generally been completed or were on track for completion. Where we fell short of the levels we expect, we are working to address this”

“It has been yet another challenging and busy year” Mayor Dalley concluded, “and our sincere thanks go to our staff, elected members, and members of our many committees, for their dedication to their various rolls and to the Hurunui district which they serve.”