$30k for Napier infrastructure report

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 11:50 11/03/2014

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Hawke's Bay

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It cost $30,000 for Napier City Council to prove critics wrong about the state of its infrastructure.

The council had been accused of neglecting its assets to keep debt down and commissioned a report to evaluate their performance..

"This report kicks that nonsense into touch," Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said.

However, chief executive Wayne Jack stressed it was primarily about gathering data and that $30,000 was a very small cost for evaluating the management of the council's $800 million assets.

The Waugh report analysed Napier's 400 kilometres of roads, 375 km of wastewater pipes, 470km of water pipes and 279 km of storm water pipes and drains. A lot of the information would be used in future planning, Mr Jack said.

The report puts Napier's capital expenditure and depreciation of assets in line with other comparable councils.

In 15 years time, Napier will need to spend an extra $1m each year on renewing assets. It could fund this by either introducing a 0.16 per cent, or $74,000, rates rise from next year or introducing a steeper increase later.

Mr Dalton did not think ratepayers would quibble with such a minimal rates increase to keep the city's assets up to standard.

"The Waugh report proves what we have believed all along - our infrastructure plan is robust and our forward planning entirely appropriate."

The misinformation that Napier neglected its assets had been mentioned "time and time again", Mr Dalton said.

He hoped the report would end all "uniformed comment from people with hidden agendas".

Hard work and prudent governance had kept Napier in "great shape", he said.

Maintenance costs were declining and many pipes were in such good condition they would not need to be replaced as soon as predicted, works asset development manager, Johan Ehlers said.

His advice to council was to "let things run" and re-assess renewal dates in the 2015 Long Term Plan.

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- The Dominion Post

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