Long Term Plan (LTP)
So those priorities, in no particular order, are:
1 Deliver an acceptable level of day-to-day service to residents
This includes an ability to answer the telephone on time, turn around consents etcetera in a timely manner. This may seem very basic but we are not doing this in some areas today. Our people are doing their best but under-resourced, our telephone system being an example. We also need to have happy engaged staff for any of the above to occur. That is also not our situation today.
We now know that 20 percent of our unsealed network has no/little base metal. Without proper foundations repairs will never work. There is quite a cost here which will need to be approved and shared with the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA). We are very much in catch-up mode and unfortunately that will take time.
3 Mangawhai Community Plan
Deliver the big hit items within the Plan. Work needs to go into validating the priorities here but having the Plan is a great start.
We are still to identify the detail of what we would like to do here but maybe the word "refresh" sums it up. Issues also around infrastructure, water, section availability as well. This is a work in progress.
5 Smaller towns and communities
Most of our smaller areas have groups doing great work very often supported by Council staff. That is planned to continue.
6 Economic Development
Our thinking here is an incremental approach, firstly to assist our various communities to be great places to live and do business. Alongside that however we would like a couple of specific initiatives in the planning period, these will be around walking and cycling, the largest being consideration of the ‘Dargaville to Donnelly’s’ cycle trail.
7 District Plan
We believe this needs revisiting. Any changes will take time so that work needs to get started.
We need to have a targeted level of debt over this planning period. Even with the huge debt reduction that has been achieved over the last five years our debt is still at double the level of our peer group of New Zealand councils. Zero debt is not our aim, however debt needs to be at a level that ensures we can fund future infrastructure needs, the interest burden is manageable and our cost of borrowing is at market with only a standard risk premium. Councillors are yet to decide what that number should be.
In most instances the land and trees are being sold as a parcel. There are two exceptions. The forest that is an integral part of our water collection north of Dargaville will be retained with only the cutting rights sold. The forest being the land that makes up the Taharoa Domain (Kai Iwi Lakes), the land will be sold however Council will require legal easements to future-proof access should this area ever be needed for recreation associated with the Taharoa Domain, walking and cycling being obvious examples.
Once the deal is signed I can let you know the price, suffice to say we are talking a number of millions of dollars.
Community Grants Policy