The corporate services committee meeting was held on 24 April 2014. Apologies were received from Cr King.
The agenda contained only a few brief reports with the contents of the main finance report already being substantially reported by the chief executive at the full council meeting on 17 April (see earlier post). However, this report also includes detailed spreadsheets (for those with an accounting interest) together with a useful table illustrating information about our debtor ledger. The treasury report also provides some informative tables illustrating council’s debt position and the manner in which council debt is being managed.
Interestingly, the government funded rates rebate scheme continues to provide strong financial assistance to Tasman ratepayers, with 1,485 ratepayer applications amounting to $840,000 of approved rebates.
I have spent a lot of time over the last few months attending various workshops with other councillors – including the draft annual plan. Workshops will also be held after the draft annual plan submissions have closed.
Whether councillors truly comprehend the financial (and debt) position of council will be shown at the forthcoming full council meeting on 30 May, when the annual plan is debated and passed by council. The financial constraints on council have meant that we could not do all of the storm water work we would have liked to do. Much of the work was deferred for the next financial year. Similarly, roading infrastructure was sweated out so we could squeeze the most out of any investment. I still believe further cuts could have been made to the draft annual plan (as did many submitters).
In particular, reducing the $1.2 million for the Mapua building development to $180,000 (reflecting the amount of insurance money we would receive if invested in a commercial activity), and a reduction in the council’s publishing budget. Ratepayers are tired of being called upon to front up with the equity for council’s commercial investments, and prefer to make their own financial decisions with their money. I believe if council wants to build on the Mapua waterfront, it should be assessing the value of its existing commercial portfolio, rather than asking for more funds from ratepayers.
The annual plan will be the mayor’s first real test since being elected of whether he is prepared to follow through on his electoral promises – and reduce debt and cut spending on the “nice to haves” (and a new recreation centre is clearly a nice to have when its competing against more important infrastructure like storm water).
Agenda and minutes
The agenda and minutes for this meeting are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/corporate-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/CorporateServicesCommittee/2014/2014-04-24.