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Published: 2012-09-27 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council today adopted its Annual Report detailing sound financial results and significant progress toward achieving the region’s environmental and economic goals.

Chairman Peter Buckley said the council’s strong financial position and achievements in the areas of community partnerships, environmental management, regional development and safe and resilient communities showed the council was performing well and providing the community value for money.

Financially, the council has reported an operating surplus of $5.9 million for the 2011/12 financial year. After transfers to reserves - and allowing for carry-over of funds to finish work started but not finished last year - the surplus provides $1.17 million of unallocated operating funds for use in the future. Final decisions are yet to be made on how these unallocated operating funds will be used.

“While these results reflect a wide variety of factors, including some spending not going ahead as planned last year, the council’s ongoing tight focus on cost control has also played a key part in producing this result,” said Cr Buckley.

“Extra surpluses, such as the one we generated last year, can play a part in containing future rate rises.”

Auditor Ben Halford, in signing off the 2011/12 Annual Report, said the council had successfully managed a busy year and the results for both the Long Term Plan and the annual report had been good.

Mr Halford said the auditors had carefully examined six issues and were satisfied that all matters were on track and consistent with policy. These included:

  • the establishment of a new council controlled organisation (CCO) which Waikato Regional Council is entering into with five other regional councils to develop and maintain a software system tailor-made for regional council work;
  • the council’s process to ensure compliance with the funding deed for the national cycling centre of excellence at Cambridge;
  • the development of joint management agreements with iwi as part of the implementation of the Waikato-Tainui river settlement;
  • the completion of four out of eight river catchment zone management plans;
  • the formalisation of the council’s risk management framework and policy;
  • councillors’ expense claims.

He said the auditors carried out specific work on councillor expense claims following media attention. All claims were in order and consistent with policy. In addition, the auditors said they ‘were comfortable’ that an overnight allowance of $50 excluding food or $70 including food for councillors staying privately at family homes was consistent with public sector policy.

The 2011/12 Annual Report will be available on-line from 1 October.