Councillor's Comment: Council has the responsibility to plan for our future

15/12/2022 11:49am

Thank you for participating in the recent local election and for voting into office a well-balanced team who, in my judgment, possess the skills, attributes and strength of character necessary to grapple with the many challenges we face as a community and Council.

We have certainly hit the ground running since being officially sworn in as councillors, with Mayor Nick leading the way, determined to see that progress does not get bogged down by the process. He is striving for greater efficiencies and prompt decisionmaking – to that end, the number of committees and workshops have been dramatically reduced

and replaced with seven taskforces designed to work on specific projects and report back to the full Council with recommendations. The taskforce working to have the Elma Turner Library open and running again is doing its job –
the library will reopen as soon as possible in the new year.

An Annual Plan taskforce has been established to focus over the next six to seven months on Council’s Annual Plan 2023-2024 and amendments to the Long-Term Plan 2022-2032. It is vitally important that the city’s finances, costings, budgets and plans are at the forefront at this time. Our community, businesses and families are facing an unprecedented number of challenges – the weather event, storm and flood damage; landslips in August; severe cost-of-living pressures, high inflation, rising interest rates and much more.

The Council has the responsibility to plan for our future through annual plans and long-term plans. Nelson City Council officers and your elected members have been working hard on what we can reprioritise and whether some expenditure can be brought forward, and other spending be pushed further out. We are looking at budget items line by line but our priority, above all else, is infrastructure investment and community recovery, support, welfare and well-being.

When we work together, we are at our best. We acknowledge that this Annual Plan and the Long-Term Plan amendments will be the most important documents for the Council, our community, businesses and families in a generation. We have recently had our Standard & Poor’s credit rating affirmed at ‘AA/A-1+’. This is encouraging. The new Council is committed to our responsibilities and looking at the various funding opportunities that may arise. We will report back to you in March to share Council's plan for recovery.