The Tasman District Council ended the 2018/19 financial year with net debt of $149.4 million, $39.8 million lower than the budgeted $189.2 million. Revenue for the year was up $2.7million to $73.4 million, partly driven by the continuing population growth in the District.

Total revenue from all other sources was $87.4 million – up $8.5million from the 2017-2018 year. The increase came from a mixture of development contributions, higher fees and charges, forestry income, and higher movements in revaluations.

Outgoing Mayor Richard Kempthorne said the Council had a very clear financial strategy to deal with the significant growth it continued to experience across the whole District. “While we have had to make some very important and hard decisions about the District’s future needs over the last few years, we have a framework within the strategy limiting rate increases and debt levels to manage the potential impact on residents.

“Despite some challenging conditions presented by the severe drought and the Pigeon Valley Fire last summer, we have kept focus on our planned work programme outlined in the Long Term Plan 2018-2028.

“As well as the Waimea Community Dam, for which site works began in March, we’ve started or finished several other key growth-related infrastructure projects across the District.

“With the effects of climate change already being felt and influencing our resource management planning, we have finalised a Climate Action Plan that will help our communities mitigate and adapt to its challenges as well as come up with new solutions.

“Developing enduring partnerships with the eight Te Tau Ihu iwi and Ngāi Tahu is especially important for us and in May this year, Council approved the appointment of a Kaihautū, who will help us build our capacity for these essential partnerships.”

For the 2019/20 year, the Council will continue to progress key projects, particularly the Waimea Community Dam, the new Motueka Library, Port Tarakohe redevelopment and key strategic plans, including the Climate Action Plan, the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy, and the review of the Tasman Resource Policy Statement and Tasman Resource Management Plan.

“We also face significant challenges resulting from government expectations including the new freshwater package, Three Waters and a suite of other national policy reforms. The combined costs to ratepayers of these changes seems to be a secondary thought when it comes to good policy as does the availability of skills and resources to deliver them. It is likely that we will need to make some choices about how much we can deliver and when.  Without those choices, the costs to ratepayers could be crippling.

“This annual report has shown our ability to deliver to our financial strategy despite the trying conditions and we have the confidence this trend, with careful management, will continue into the next year.”