TDC keeps debt down

Tasman District Council managed to carve just over $4 million off its budgeted debt, finishing the financial year to the end of June owing $149.1m.

Mayor Richard Kempthorne said the figure, which did not include joint venture share borrowings, was down from the forecast $153.3m and was a good result considering the challenges faced by the the district, which is one of the fastest growing in the country.

In releasing the council’s 2011-2012 annual report Mr Kempthorne said the reduced debt, combined with an increase in working capital, meant the district’s finances were in good shape.

The value of the assets managed by the council on behalf of residents has now reached $1.130 billion and the 12 months to June saw the council purchase $38.1m of additional assets and spend $92.9m on providing services, such as roads, water and recreation facilities.

Mr Kempthorne said the last financial year would be remembered in the district for the natural disasters which tested the resilience of the council and the community.

‘‘Several significant weather events had the ability to adversely affect the district’s health and growth. Rainfall, flooding and debris flows severely affected many settlements, one of which resulted in the first Civil Defence Emergency experienced by our region since 1990,’’ he said.

‘‘Although these weather events have had an impact on both Council’s work schedule and budgets it was very encouraging to see how positively the communities of Tasman responded.’’

‘‘People took responsibility for their neighbours’ wellbeing and local businesses took on the challenges they faced to ensure their customers could still rely on their services.

‘‘The focus at times was placed firmly on delivering the necessities of life and the communities across our district came through with flying colours.’’

The council still managed to deliver on key projects during the year despite the challenges, he said, including upgrading stormwater and wastewater systems in Motueka and wastewater systems in Murchison, commissioning the Takaka township fire mains, further development of Tasman’s Great Taste Cycle Trail, decisions on Part 4 of the Tasman Resource Management Plan on Rivers and Lakes, upgrading Mariri and Richmond Resource Recovery centres, rebuilding Golden Bay’s James Road Bridge which was destroyed in December 2010 Aorere River floods, and achieving International Safe Community accreditation.

Mr Kempthorne said the district’s rapid growth presented its own challenges and the council continued to work on the draft district plan change for Motueka West and Central and mediate on appeals for Richmond West rezoning.