Central Hawke’s Bay District Council’s newly adopted Annual Report for 2019/2020 reflects on the progress Council has made toward achieving plans agreed with the community in the 2018-28 Long Term Plan, marked by unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic, paired with a significant drought event.
The Annual Report was adopted at last week’s Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Thursday 24 September. Each year Council is required to publically report on its activities for the year, and how they have spent the rates and fees collected from residents, and the grants from third parties such as Central Government.
The Report demonstrates that Project Thrive, the council’s strategic framework for transformation and governance, continues to deliver significant transformation and energy for the district and council. Early in 2020, Council was recognised in the 2020 Local Government Excellence Awards for Innovation in Organisation & People Development for its work in Project Thrive. This external and independent assessment of Council’s progress to date provides assurance and confidence in the direction of Council’s priorities.
Following the October 2019 elections which saw the establishment of a new Council, elected members set governance expectations to focus on five strategic priorities for the triennium. These included: The Big Water Story, the District Plan, the Wastewater Treatment Project, Social Housing and Waste Free CHB.
A significant focus for the 2019/20 Financial Year was in planning and developing durable infrastructure to future proof the district and support growth via the Council’s capital project, the Big Water Story. Two flagship projects were completed late in 2019, the Otane Alternate Water Supply and Takapau Water Treatment Plant Upgrade. Continuing into 2020 and 2021, priority works on Waipukurau’s State Highway 2 Borefield Upgrade Project are well underway.
A major milestone for the Council was the development of Central Hawke’s Bay’s ‘Integrated Spatial Plan’ – a blueprint for growth which is key to informing the Council’s Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031. The Plan is in response to the significant growth in the population of the District, which is projected to increase to over 18,000 people by 2031, with 1,500 homes built in that same time.
“Being prepared for what’s ahead is critical to ensuring future generations of residents in Central Hawke’s Bay continue to Thrive!” Says Alex Walker, Mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay.
“It is important to us that while we respond to this growth we are still ensuring we preserve and nurture our identity, culture, environment, community and economy that makes Central Hawke’s Bay so special.”
In 2020, work also commenced in setting the direction for the 2021-31 Long Term Plan – Our Thriving Future.
In response to the unexpected challenge of COVID-19 and the drought, Council maintained level of service and access to essential lifelines, while ensuring community members remained the priority through the course of both events. This included adopting and actioning an Economic Recovery Plan in April 2020 focusing on the immediate and long-term recovery of the community.
The Annual Report also outlines the council’s financial performance throughout the year. The 2019/20 year-end overall result shows that the Council was above budget by $3.4 million in revenue, and correspondingly over budget by $3.7 million in operating expenditure. This is largely as a result of higher fees and charges due to customer demand, particularly in the solid waste and consenting areas, alongside grants offset by additional spend relating to COVID-19 and delivering this additional services to meet the additional demand. Council’s fixed assets have grown by $9 million, testament to the significant work in upgrading drinking water supplies.
Monique Davidson, Chief Executive at Central Hawke’s Bay District Council says, “I’m incredibly proud of the achievements described in this year’s Annual Report, particularly in the face of adversity and huge challenge.
As we move into Year Three of the Long Term Plan and prepare for Our Thriving Future, we will remain focused on delivering the next stages of our work programme, including highly anticipated waste water treatment plant upgrades.”
The Annual Report 2019/20 can be read in full here
2 October 2020
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