News from Wellington City Council
The Wellington City Council’s 2013-14 Annual Report was formally approved this afternoon – and it shows that the Council’s finances are healthy and prudently-managed and the city is in great shape.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the refreshed Council elected in 2013 is focused on transforming Wellington City and serving its residents. “Our finances are healthy and we are meeting 12 of the 13 legislated financial benchmarks,” she says.
“Wellington is in great shape as a city. Together we have the people and financial capacity to do more.”
Highlights for the Council included its contribution to progressing a proposed extension to the airport runway, working on a proposed new convention centre, bringing the waterfront management company ‘in-house’ and advancing plans for a film museum.
In the 2013-14 financial year the Council also:
• put forward an economic growth agenda underpinned by 8 Big Ideas
• agreed the 2014/15 Annual Plan in record time without making service cuts
• tripled our investment in cycling as part of that plan
• struck a 2.5% rates rise
• established a $3 million a year fund to support events, initiatives and growth opportunities
• participated in the merger of the region’s economic CCOs into one agency
• began the upgrade of the Keith Spry Pool (scheduled to reopen in summer 2015)
• installed a new artificial turf at Alex Moore Park and upgraded Grasslees Reserve at Tawa
• expanded and upgraded the pedestrian and cycle network, including completing the Tawa Valley path
• invested $5 million in the $60 million National War Memorial Park project
• completed design work for the Cenotaph as part of the project to upgrade the Parliamentary Precinct.
Councillor Mark Peck, Chair of the Council’s Audit and Risk Subcommittee, which oversees the annual reporting process, said council officers can be proud that Wellington City Council is once again the first local authority to finalise its annual accounts and complete the Annual Report.
He told today’s meeting of the Governance, Finance and Planning Committee: “We deliver value for money! The services we provide cost Wellingtonians $5.82 per day, less than a household spends on power.”
He said the Council maintained its AA credit rating with Standard and Poor’s. “The effect of this rating is that it provides the Council with a reduced cost of borrowing.”
For 2013-14 the Council achieved an underlying surplus of $1.2 million – reflecting what it collects through rates, investments and other sources (fees and charges) subtracted from what it spends on services. Cr Peck said the relatively small surplus reflects the council’s commitment to inter-generational equity, or in other words that “each generation of ratepayers should pay for the services they consume.”
The Council spent significantly less on capital programmes than budgeted due largely to the deferral of work to earthquake strengthen the Town Hall.
Cr Peck stressed that Council debt remains low. Net debt stands at $346 million while Council investments are worth $404 million.
The final Annual Report, in printed and online versions, will be available on 26 September.