Regional Council focuses on efficiency, effectiveness
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 11:00 a.m.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has focused on being as efficient and effective as possible while making good progress on its priority projects in the past year.
In its Annual Report, the Regional Council says it has carried on doing what it does well, with an increased focus on doing business better in delivering on Year One of its Ten Year Plan 2012-2022.
Chief Executive Mary-Anne Macleod said the Regional Council had made progress on its major projects – Tauranga Harbour, Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme, River Scheme Sustainability project and undertaking the first round of its new Regional Infrastructure Fund.
It also made good progress on other work, preparing for remediation of the Kopeopeo Canal, managing technical investigations and consultation for the Kaituna River Re-diversion and Wetland Creation project and repairs to major river schemes from previous flood damage.
For Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes, short-term measures enhanced water quality while other long-term solutions, such as land use and land management changes were developed further. Because policy for rules and incentives was being developed, no agreements had yet been signed to reduce nitrogen loss to Lake Rotorua’s catchment, so the lake’s nutrient reduction target had not been met, she said.
However Lake Rotoiti had met its water quality target for the first time, and both Rotorua and Rotoehu were very close to their targets.
Protection of lake, harbour and stream margins in the targeted catchments of Tauranga Harbour and Ohiwa Harbour and Rotorua lakes progressed, and stock exclusion fencing work increased in the Kaituna and Whakatane River catchments. Tauranga Harbour’s Coastal Margins project got underway to protect and enhance biodiversity as well as address sedimentation issues.
The River Scheme Sustainability Project had begun in response to concerns that the schemes were becoming unaffordable for some ratepayers, she said. Recent work focused on scoping four work streams, with initial projects targeted in December 2013.
The Regional Infrastructure Programme was a Council priority. Seven projects were direct funded, with the Hamurana/Awahou sewerage scheme and sealing of two kilometres of Oropi Road near Tauranga receiving funding. Funding for the remaining five projects has been carried forward to future years.
Although bus service patronage fell short of the targeted 10 percent increase, Tauranga’s service showed a 1.5 percent increase, with more than 1.8 million trips. Several factors had slowed growth, including a 15 percent fare increase in Tauranga. Fare recovery – a key measure for central Government funds – exceeded the target by 3.6 percent, a considerable achievement.
"The total operating spend for Council was $78.6 million. This was $14.1 million less than planned. Most of this reduction was due to grants and subsidies that had been budgeted but not required in this year. Savings in operational activities also contributed to this reduction,” she said.
“Revenue exceeded budget principally due to a downgrade of the liability held in relation to the perpetual preference shares. Council received revenue of $95.8 million rather than the $85.1 million planned for.”
“Ms Macleod said the Council’s efficiency and effectiveness programme aimed to achieve savings, with an increased target of $500,000 being set for the current financial year,” she said.