Mayors Column - May 2013

1 May 2013, 10:36 AM

Welcome to this months column.

It has been great to get some long awaited rain, and here’s hoping this mild weather continues well into may so our farmers can build up feed covers going into winter.

Farewell to Jim & Joan Bolger

Thank you to all who attended this event. We were entertained by some great speeches, and Jim has been in contact with me to say how much they enjoyed and appreciated such a warm farewell.

Anzac Day Services

Thank you to this paper on the very extensive coverage of Anzac Day services. This day has grown significantly over the last 5 years or so, with both young and old turning up in large numbers, and it has become a real time of remembrance of the huge sacrifices of war. A highlight at the Te Kuiti service was the outstanding speech from Barry Batley, one of the last conscripted intakes to the armed forces. Barry combined humour with the serious side of army life, and the influence this had on his life, and this was very well received by all.

Te Kuiti Sewage Plant upgrade

This project is on track to be completed by June this year, and we are pleased with the progress being made. It will mark a significant milestone to have the compliance issues that have hindered us over many years finally behind us. A big thank you to all involved in the processes of gaining the subsidy funding, and who have aided the consenting progress.

Railway Building Restoration

Now we have our Annual Plan consultation completed, our focus returns to the railway building project. Much work has been done on the financial planning, landscape design, and potential use for these much valued buildings in our town centre. While progress may seem frustratingly slow, it is important we get the basics right to make this project sustainable, and we are using the time to develop comprehensive plans, both physical and financial, to support funding applications to make this happen. We plan to hold another reference group meeting shortly.

Financial Prudence

Much of our focus in developing our Long Term, and Annual Plans, has been the very careful, prudent financial controls. WDC uses Bancorp Treasury Services for financial advice, and this has resulted in us achieving significant savings in the area of the cost of debt servicing and funding.  This is resulted in us achieving (for some years now) significantly lower costs of funds than we would normally expect for a similar local authority. In this last 12 months this has resulted in savings of over $250k / annum and this flows directly through to a reduced funding of debt, and lower rate increases.

Combined Waitomo/ Otorohanga Mayoral Graduation 

Next Thursday 9th May the 3rd combined Waitomo/ Otorohanga Mayoral Graduation will take place at The Big Apple, which celebrates the graduation of local students and apprentices, both young and not so young.  It is a great occasion to really celebrate the achievements of graduates from Wintec, and the Trades Academy.

I want to take this opportunity to pay a special tribute to Mayor Dale Williams. Dale, as most of you will know is standing down this October after 3 terms as Mayor of Otorohanga. These awards and much of the training opportunities that happen locally just wouldn’t exist without Dale’s dedication to the pursuit of local training opportunities and local employment. Both Waitomo and Otorohanga districts are forever indebted to Dale’s passion and drive in this area. He has inspired many of us to continue his work, and for that I offer, on behalf of Waitomo District a huge thank you, Dale.