Western Bay Council’s Annual Report for the 2017-18 has indicated continued growth and demand for services within the District, among a number of other positive indicators according to latest findings.
The report shows the District experienced a year of strong economic growth with annual gross domestic product and employment growth at higher levels than the national average.
On the ground, this growth has translated into a doubling of the value of building consents issued over the year.
Prudently managing Council’s assets and finances is critical to maintaining sustainable public services into the future.
Council has retained its AA credit rating from Standard and Poor’s, the highest rating possible for a territorial authority. This reflects Western Bay’s continued prudent debt management, planning for growth and reaping the benefits of a larger rating base.
Council says it has worked hard to ensure it supports and encourages the District’s prosperity through the roles it plays in providing essential public services and regulation.
It highlights some of it's achievements as being the:
· Completion of the new Katikati library and community hub: The Centre – Pātuki Manawa which opened in August 2018
· Commissioning of the Te Puna West wastewater scheme
· Continued construction of the Omokoroa – Tauranga Cycleway
· Completion of the Te Puke Highway revocation project
· Development of the Omokoroa Special Housing Area (Kaimai Views)
· Reviewing the waste minimisation policy in light of Central Government guidelines.
During the year Council also completed the 2018/28 Long Term Plan.
Mayor Garry Webber says this reflects a clear message from Western Bay residents stating they want Council to continue to take a ‘steady as we grow’ approach, while prudently managing operational and capital expenditure plans.
“Council is confident the strategies, actions and performance measures in the Long Term Plan will deliver on the expectations our communities told us were important to them.
“Looking forward, we need to keep an eye on any national and/or global issues that may pose risks and to make sure that we are nimble to accommodate them, as and when they arise. Against this background Council remains focused on keeping a tight rein on finances and looking for more opportunities to improve our efficiency and address performance and service gaps.”
Mayor Garry says close attention will continue to be paid to the new Government’s policy priorities and their potential impact on the local government operating environment.
“Council needs to be ready and able to influence and anticipate change,” says Garry.