Annual Report 2009/10

Summary

It’s been another eventful year for Nelson and one of increasing change for your Council.

Just what has been achieved is set out in the 2009/10 annual report. It is an audited record of Council’s performance and an important part of Council’s accountability to its community. It sets out whether Council did what it said it would and, if not, why there were differences. For example, project budgets might have been underspent because of work delays.

Mayor’s word

As the new Mayor of Nelson, it’s a pleasure to introduce a very positive annual report. The Nelson community can now enjoy the huge progress Council has made with service improvements and facility development. Highlights include the $7.4 million transformation of Trafalgar Park to welcome the world in 2011, and the opening of Saxton Stadium, which promptly won awards for design. We won awards for innovative walking and cycling initiatives too.  We improved resource consent turnaround time in leaps and bounds and opened a smart new customer service centre to provide a one-stop shop for council services. Our winter air quality was the best it has been since we started monitoring, and Solar Saver increased solar installations by 400%.

There was a long list of achievements over the year. Council and staff were justifiably proud and Nelson should be, too. We’ve got plenty to work on though, with a solution to our arterial roading issues, progress on a Performing Arts Centre, and the Rugby World Cup to dominate our attention.

Aldo Miccio, Mayor of Nelson

From the Chief Executive

A look through the audited Annual Report will confirm your City is doing well.

Spending is not out of control, we don’t waste your money, and there has been plenty of progress. You can expect a prompt response to a complaint or service request, consent processing is much quicker and you can expect to get a whole lot of high quality services, assets and facilities for your rates.

Financial responsibility

This year, we lifted our rating surplus from $0.8 million to $1.3 million. Debt levels and rates per capita are both around the national average.

Customer service

Customers have said our customer service has improved. An independent survey of people who had contacted Council showed a lift in our ‘net promoter score’ from +40% to +60% in just one year. That’s a brilliant improvement in performance following the opening of the customer service centre in December 2009, together with subsequent system improvements.

This has been a very full and productive year for Council and staff. Residents can be satisfied that what was promised in 2009 in the Nelson Community Plan has substantially been delivered.

We have set some very high standards to achieve; results for all of these show improvement right across the organisation and in the services we provide. And some of that improvement has been dramatic. Some changes are only just beginning to kick in and will bear fruit in later years.

We recognise there is a need to continue to strive to be better and better each year. You can be sure that we are keeping the momentum going and building on the progress already made.

Keith Marshall, Chief Executive

Working with Māori

Council continued to provide a range of opportunities for Māori to participate in its decision making, including Kotahitanga Hui. These regular hui provided ‘rangatira to rangatira’ discussions between Council and iwi leaders on issues of mutual interest

The focus during the first six months of 2010 was on building the skills of Council staff, including knowledge of customs and language. This helped build the Council’s capacity to respond to and involve Māori in Council’s decisions and the delivery of its services.

As a reflection of the partnership between Crown and iwi, Treaty settlements with central government require action at the local government level. This has signalled some changes in the relationship between the iwi of Te Tau Ihu, the top of the South Island, and the Nelson City Council. To respond to these changes, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Tangata Whenua o Whakatū and the Council was reviewed. Progress was also made towards reaching agreement on the associated action plan to implement the MoU.

Did Council deliver?

Key milestones and achievements for the year to June 2010

The year brought considerable change to the Council, challenges for the city and several notable milestones for multi-year projects.

Average rates including water charges rose by 3.17% for 2009/10. As well as delivering the core essential services and facilities residents and visitors expect every day across Nelson, Council delivered the new assets and milestones summarised in this section – all this and more made Nelson an even better place.

Financial headlines include:
  • Council’s finances continued in good health
  • Debt levels lower than forecast because of delays on some capital expenditure projects
  • Interest costs were manageable at an average of 5.8% of rates and water charges
  • Council signalled a policy change to take a longer term view on interest rates and to provide greater certainty of interest costs

Transparency is important for public spending and therefore it was decided that the Mayor and Chief Executive would publish their credit card statements online. Other examples of Council’s releases of information over the year included contaminated sites, audit reports on Council finances, comprehensive Chief Executive’s reports that were tabled in public every six weeks and Councillors’ remuneration and meeting attendances.

Council set these priorities in the 2009 Nelson Community (Long Term or Ten year) Plan:

  1. Put Nelson’s regional identity on the radar
  2. Sustainable economic development
  3. Build and maintain strong relationships with iwi/Māori
  4. Regional programmes, work cooperatively with TDC
  5. Sustainability, particularly environmental sustainability
  6. Nelson as a centre for arts creativity
  7. Safeguard and promote our heritage
  8. Develop community facilities and infrastructure

The numbers on each priority above are also used below in parentheses to show which were achieved by each of the year’s major milestones summarised here.

Air quality improved (2, 4, 5, 8)

A key highlight was seeing the continued improvement in air quality results. The long term programme that included replacing older wood burners and banning open fires began to show a dramatic improvement in air quality. This progress was the culmination of years of work by successive Councils and will continue, with the next burner phase out date in 2012.

Solar Saver Scheme (1, 2, 4, 5, 8)

The Council set the goal to make Nelson the solar centre of New Zealand. The initial focus has been to make it easier to install solar water heating (SWH) by waiving building consent fees and providing finance to help homeowners install SWH and pay it off while they benefit from reduced power bills. Compared to 37 installations in the six months before the scheme began, 150 SWH systems were installed during the first six months of the scheme.

Model Cities Cycle and Walking Funding (1, 2, 4, 5, 8)

While Central Government chose not to fund Council’s Model Cities cycle and walking application, this announcement was followed by the good news that Cycle Trails funding had been approved.

Trafalgar Park spruced up (1, 2, 4, 8)

The upgraded facility was officially reopened in August 2010.

The $7.4 million upgrade transformed the Park into a facility Nelson can be proud of. Improvements include eight new lighting towers, a new turf made of recycled glass sand, new toilets, entries and media facilities.

Saxton Stadium (1, 2, 4, 8)

The massive new Saxton Stadium was officially opened by the Governor General, His Excellency, The Hon Sir Anand Satyanand in October 2009. It has won awards for innovative use of timber and represents a great partnership between both Councils and the sporting codes. The stadium has space for five international-sized netball or basketball courts, 12 volleyball courts and a separate, purpose built table tennis area.

Arterial Traffic Study (1, 2, 4, 8)

The study was kicked off, up to stage 2 and is poised for a decision early in this Council term. Subsequently, in August 2010, 31 key stakeholder organisations spent two days with the Arterial Traffic Study (ATS) decision-making team and unanimously recommended the team drops Options H and I. Option H would have created four lanes on Rocks Road and Option I would have created four lanes on Waimea Road.

The decision-making team will consider the recommendation as it continues working through all the options toward a final decision before the end of 2010.

Bell Island and Maitai pipe duplication (2, 3, 4, 5, 8)

Both projects are major, big ticket infrastructure investments for the future of the city.

Bell Island for waste water is budgeted to cost $19.5 million – consultation and planning is complete and building will be done in 2011.

Maitai pipeline for water supply is budgeted to cost $13.5 million – designs are well advanced and the pipeline is to be constructed over three years beginning in 2011/12.

Rugby World Cup 2011 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Planning and preparation for the event in 2011 is well under way.

Resource Management Plan Changes (2, 4, 5, 8)

Programme for building a better Nelson. Most ground work for a suite of plan changes was completed over the year. Since then, 11 Plan Changes were publicly notified on 25 September, with submissions invited until 3 December 2010.

Consents processing times improved (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8)

There was a tough economic environment over the year but there has been some recovery. On average in 2009/10, 82% of non-notified consents were processed within statutory timeframes. In 2008/09, the average was 78%.

Waimea Inlet Strategy (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8)

Coming out of the Biodiversity Strategy, the strategy for Waimea Inlet involved both TDC, NCC and many other key groups and organisations.

It took only nine months from initiation to approval in August 2010.

Customer Service Centre opened (8)

The one stop facility on the ground floor of Civic House opened in early December 2009 and has had predominantly positive feedback.

KaihautŪ on board (3)

Relationships with Ma_ori in Nelson advanced significantly with the establishment of a dedicated Kaihautu_ position to further strengthen the relationship between Council and Ma_ori.

Civil Defence (2, 4, 5, 8)

Staff were involved in the Tapawera flood response, working to support TDC. The regional civil defence group also received a very positive report during the year from the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

Heritage Inventory (3, 7)

Work on a full inventory, including a separate assessment involving iwi representatives, was well advanced over the year.

So what happened to the money?

Council recorded a surplus (before revaluations) for the year ending 30 June 2010 of $17.6 million, which was $4.2 million over budget.

As used here, ‘surplus’ refers to an accounting surplus, which is a net increase in the value of Council assets. It is different from a rating surplus, which refers to surplus funds raised through rates that were either not spent because of project delays or cost savings, or if excess revenue was earned beyond what was expected. A rating surplus is carried over to reduce the rates cost in the following financial year. Council posted a rating surplus of $1.289 million, largely due to savings in Council’s activities.

Council borrowings at $51.5 million were lower than the budgeted $87.4 million because of delays with capital projects such as the Regional Sewerage Scheme upgrade, the Performing Arts Centre and other community facilities.

And where did it go?

Council’s operating costs were $68.4 million. The estimate for the 2009/10 financial year was $67 million. Total capital spending was $45.5 million:

  • community facilities 31%
  • vested assets 16% (subdivision infrastructure gifted to the city)
  • recreation/leisure 1%
  • parks and open space 10%
  • transport 14%
  • Heart of Nelson 1%
  • stormwater/flood protection 4%
  • wastewater 14%
  • water 4%
  • democracy and administration 4%
  • culture/heritage/arts 1%

Get a copy of the summary or full report

A summary of the annual report as well as the full 207 page annual report are available

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annual-report-2009-10.pdf (pdf, 6.1 MB)