Our District - The Dollars and Sense of an Annual Report

Our Annual Report for the 22/23 financial year was officially adopted at an Extraordinary Council meeting on 30 October 2023. It’s been externally audited and is ready for you to peruse as we reflect on the financial year that was.

So what is an Annual Report? Legislatively speaking, all Councils are required to provide an Annual Report each year to show what we have done over that past financial year. This report sits over the last six months of 2022 and the first six months of this 2023 year. It compares what we planned to do in our Long-Term Plan against the work that has been completed, to what level of service and ties that all into the budget. It’s a key way of showing our accountability and sharing accomplishments with our community. You can see what your rates have funded, and the levels of service received during that time. This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the financial year that was and celebrate the amazing mahi we have done alongside, and for, our community. The adoption of our Annual Report is a good time to see where we currently stand and helps us navigate what we should be thinking about for our upcoming Long-Term Plan for the next 10 years (2024-2034).

Mayor Helen Worboys notes that like the rest of the country it’s been a year of challenges, however significant projects have begun and progressed.

This has been a period of doing as much as we can while tightening our belts and making prudent decisions in order to minimise the financial burden on our ratepayers,” says Mayor Helen. “Looking back on the past year, we feel incredibly proud of the mahi that has taken place around our district, and our teams’ achievements in delivering vital community projects.”

Despite these challenges, this recent financial year has seen a strong implementation of community focussed projects and pieces of work, either commencing or reaching completion. The redevelopment of the Feilding Library is underway and will see the space repurposed as the Manawatū Community Hub and accommodate what the modern library has become – a space that is so much more than just books. This year saw the demolition of the old building, with new earthquake-strengthened foundations and beams being installed. This key community project is intended to be completed by mid-2024 for everyone to enjoy! Much of the community hub’s aesthetic has been driven by artist direction from local iwi, with te ao Māori elements weaved throughout the architecture. It will be a beautiful and meaningful space for everyone once complete.

We’ve achieved 78.2% of our key performance indicators during the financial year and been busy keeping the district ticking with our usual services that you can expect from Council, rubbish, recycling, waters, building services and roading to name a few. This financial year saw a few key growth projects break ground. Within our new residential development, two new roads were completed and opened with a blessing from local iwi. Located off Churcher Street, Echo Place and Turoa Street are the first roads to be built as part of the new residential growth development, known as ‘Maewa’. Once complete, this growth area will have capacity to accommodate approximately 1,700 new homes.

In the waters space we’ve seen a few new exciting projects commencing, including the Ohakea Water Scheme – which includes a new bore, reservoir, water treatment plant and pipe network, including connections to houses and farms. This partnership project with central government will see the removal of PFAS contamination of ground water supplies to Ohakea residents.

The Feilding water resilience initiative has seen the purchase of additional land surrounding an existing water bore for treatment infrastructure and the development of a third bore. This is all about future proofing and enabling Feilding’s drinking water supply to continue to meet the current and future needs of the growing town.

We’ve also been working on the centralisation of our district’s wastewater management to leverage the investment already made in Feilding for the treatment and disposal of the wastewater generated in the southern villages. The centralisation comprises of several projects with the common goal of having all the villages wastewater piped to the Manawatū Wastewater Treatment Plant in Feilding. This project will see a more resilient, streamlined and economical service provided for the district as a whole. Upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant in Feilding over the past decade included allowing for this capacity. We’ve also made environmentally sustainable improvements by decreasing the amount of wastewater that’s discharged into the river with the benefit of also reducing nitrogen levels on the amount that is discharged. A key piece of work to achieve this is through the constructed wetlands. This allows approximately 6 million litres of that treated wastewater to go through an additional filtration process.

Some additional key highlights and takeaways are as follows:

  • Council processed 569 building consents and 347 resource consents.
  • 2,011 tonnes of recycling were processed.
  • 416,990 m2 of road was resurfaced.
  • 90% of survey participants are satisfied with Council’s parks, reserves & sportsgrounds.
  • Council-owned halls & recreation complexes are 100% compliant with building Warrant of Fitness requirements & FENZ evacuation procedures.
  • 97% average of smooth travel expenditure (STE) index score for urban & rural roads.
  • 99.29% rating achieved for 2023 Footpath Rating Survey.

While these are a select few of our major projects underway this past financial year, there is plenty more to read about in the full Annual Report and accompanying summary if you want to dive deeper into all the stats and details.

If there are things that you think Council can or should be doing better, whilst keeping in mind the rates increases that doing more often entails, please consider making a submission to our 2024-2027 Long-Term Plan. This is where we set the levels of service that you can expect from your Council and find the balance between affordability and great service.