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Mayors Message

 

Roading
Our largest single cost by far, the area that we receive the most complaints, the area that we have the most "catching up" to do, and an area that many ratepayers have very strong views around what should be done.

We all have the same objective: to see ongoing improvements in our roading network and your rates spent efficiently. Council has to balance the tension of catching up in the roading area while continuing to lower debt... not easy!

After much thought, we have decided to instigate meetings throughout the District on roading. The objective is to bring interested residents much closer to our decision-making on roads and get local input into those decisions before they are cast in stone.

We still have a lot of detail to work through but the concept is:

We will hold meetings throughout Kaipara, in early July. I will attend and Chair all of them. Curt Martin, our General Manager of Infrastructure, will also attend. We will give attendees (open to all) an overview of Kaipara roading, followed by a more detailed look at what we are looking at doing in the particular area where the meeting is being held. We will seek your feedback on our plan and priorities. Sometime later, possibly early in the New Year, we will repeat the process for further feedback on what has been done and once again get your thoughts on priorities. We are thinking of dividing the District into communities of interest to continue engagement with you on issues. The meetings will be advertised in due course. Any feedback on the suggestion to Sean Mahoney please, smahoney@kaipara.govt.nz.

 

Mangawhai Art Gallery
If you are driving past, pop in and have a look. A major community undertaking that involved over 300 locals painting stingrays on pre-cut plywood. The best are on display. A great community initiative and well worth a visit. The talent is amazing. Mangawhai is certainly identifying itself as an artist hub. The newly painted toilets at Alamar Crescent and MAZ are also worth a look!

 

Funding back to the community
Council has a number of ways that it gives money to community groups. In the past these have been ad hoc, and the criteria not always clear. Cr Julie Geange is heading a sub-committee that is working with staff to bring this under one umbrella and develop some very clear criteria against which applications can be judged. There is also a Mayoral Fund, which allows me to give $20k per annum on

an even more ad hoc basis. I want this to cease and roll that money into the wider pool. Councillors will discuss the sub-committee’s recommendations at our July meeting.

In this whole space, we also have financial contributions for reserves. These are collected as sections are subdivided to fund capital improvements resulting from that growth. The collection of these funds is provided for in the legislation via the District Plan. Council’s current policy is to spend 60 percent in the community that it was sourced from and 40 percent on the District’s premier parks. It is intended to be spent within ten years of receiving it. At June 2016, the "pot" was $4.3m, with most of this not being funded currently. This is effectively a liability we have to deal with progressively. This money does not sit in a bank account, it has been used to reduce our overall debt balance until the funds are needed. So when I talk about core debt of circa $65m, within that is a contingent liability of around $4m for financial contributions for reserves. Hypothetically, if we paid it all out tomorrow debt would increase by around $4m.

In round figures the funds levies are made up as follows (see graph): $1.1m assigned to Mangawhai (and growing), $840k for Premier Parks, $2.2m available generally with a few other minor balances.

As part of the Long Term Planning process we will talk to communities about how they would like to see this money used.


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