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Wednesday
Jun272018

Ten Year Plan Adoption Meeting Yesterday

Yesterday’s meeting was a happy affair as self-congratulations flowed over the adoption of the final, revised Ten Year Plan,  and Coastal Management Strategy.

The former was accompanied by “hard won” (CE) clean audit report – many thanks and congratulations extended to Donna Holland, the relatively new Finance Manager. Donna has the distinct advantage of having spent several years working in Audit NZ.

I was most interested to see that the Reserves Policy is front and centre in the policy revisions proposed that accompany the LTP. It is explained as having been “refreshed and brought up to date to future-proof the management of our financial reserves.” I bet!

It is clear that there is considerable embarrassment surrounding the manner in which the Reserves Policy was able toi be manipulated by the previous administration leading to what can only be described as its current parlous state. How they managed to get this past Audit NZ without comment, or qualification, I will never know, other than it being a sad reflection on the overall audit process required of councils generally.

What I found interesting was an aside by Tony Fox – Chair of the Audit Committee to the effect that his Committee will be looking closely at the new Reserves Policy at its July meeting. I suspect that he has every intention of ensuring that strict parameters are put in place to ensure that there can be no repeat of the dissipation of depreciation reserves that occured over the last few years.  

Other policies that have been revised in accordance with new requirements are Rates Remission, Liability Management, Investment, and Development Contributions. I don’t intend to analyse these changes here - go to the paper itself here.

I was also interested in the comments of the Chief Executive in relation to the vastly improved staff performance since the advent of the changes he has been brought about over the past twelve months, since his arrival. Hooray to that!

One aspect of the TYP that has not been commented on to date is that related to rates instalment dates. These dates are of course much more important to those on fixed incomes who carefully budget the timing of payments – not so important for others, including councilors, so barely rated a mention.

Previous instalments were due on the 8th day of September, December and April. The new dates will the 15th of October, February and May without incurring penalty.

This will of course suit some, and not others, but generally it should fit the budget patterns for most rate-payers, and provide an extra six weeks to get the first, and subsequent instalments together.

See sample rates for each Board area on my 22 June post here.

 

 

 

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