Read about Councils plans for the 2016/17 financial year.
Welcome to the April edition of the Waitomo Way featuring Council’s plans for the 2016/17 financial year. The Annual Plan focuses on Council’s work programme for the years between the three-yearly Long Term Plan with the intent of highlighting any exceptions. The plans, projects, costs of the proposals, rates and debt levels over the next 10 years contained within the current LTP 2015-2025 (LTP) were consulted with our District community through a comprehensive and robust process in April last year and the LTP was adopted in June 2015. We are now 9 months into the first year of the LTP and have prepared financial forecasts and plans for year two; 2016/17 which will be contained in the Exceptions Annual Plan 2016/17 (EAP 2016/17). The EAP 2016/17 has no significant differences from Year 2 of Council’s LTP 2015-25. The planned levels of service are unchanged, while proposed rates to be collected and forecast debt are both lower than expected. As there are no material changes or consultation issues, Council will not have a formal submissions process for the EAP 2016/17. This is the first time for such a move, made possible because of changes to the Local Government Act which provides Council with the option of adopting an Annual Plan without further consultation where it is consistent with the LTP. This avoids duplication of process thereby saving time and increasing efficiency. Although, no formal consultation is planned, Council would like the community to engage and provide any feedback on our plans and financials for 2016/17, which are presented in summary in the following sections.
Council’s Key Initiatives for the 2016/17 Year Council’s areas of focus, as contained in the LTP 2015-25 are:
  • Economic Development
  • Community Connectivity and Development
  • Good Asset Stewardship and Management
The intention is to enhance the livability of our District, facilitate our communities to be vibrant and thriving and to do this in a financially prudent and sustainable manner. We have been working towards these focus areas and plan to continue this direction in the 2016/17 year. Some of the key initiatives include:
Economic Development 2016/17 year will see the adoption of an Economic Development Strategy to guide economic development activities in our District. The strategy will be informed by the data collected over the current year. Data collection and plans to collate a comprehensive overview of the state of different components of our local economy and to identify key issues and opportunities for the District are well underway. Visitor numbers to one of our newer attractions, the Timber Trail, are increasing markedly each year. Council is supporting a Concept Development Plan for Timber Trail Marketing, which is to be run in conjunction with Ruapehu District Council. We look forward to this initiative bringing increased visitor numbers and business activity to the Timber Trail in the 2016/17 year. The Te Kuiti Railway Station Buildings 2 and 3 were opened in October 2015 after an extensive restoration and strengthening project. The aim of the project is to re-invigorate and showcase the railway heritage of the town, as well as creating a vibrant central hub for the community of Te Kuiti. This project will be completed in the 2016/17 year.
Community Connectivity and Development Council intends to facilitate a Retirement Housing Project in order to meet the needs of the changing demographics within our community. This project will be progressed by a community group and Council will provide any support required for this community initiative. Tourism is a significant industry in our District with total tourism expenditure for the year ending March 2015 of $68 million. Council recognises the significance of Waitomo Caves Village as the hub of this activity with an estimated 500,000 + visitors per year and intends to provide facilitation support to the Tere Waitomo Community Trust in implementing the Waitomo Village Structure Plan. Gaining access to high-speed broadband services continues to be a significant issue in our District. While we wait for further announcements from Central Government on the Registration of Interest we submitted to the Broadband and Mobile Black Spot Initiative we will continue to lobby for enhanced service delivery in our community and keep you informed on Digital activity, events and infrastructure. Community Connectivity and Development 2016/17 year will see us continue to provide (with no changes to service levels) Community Services that ensure safety and quality of life in our communities like animal control, aquatic centre, maintenance of our parks and gardens and proactive monitoring and enforcement for the service areas of building control and alcohol licencing.
Good Asset Stewardship and Management The popularity of Timber Trail as a destination is growing. Visitors to the Timber Trail turn off State Highway 30 onto Maraeroa Road, which is a metal road also used by logging trucks. This road experiences slippery conditions in winter and dust in summer. The road is travelled by people who potentially have less experience in driving in such conditions. These contributing factors have raised road user safety concerns. Although Council does not carry out new sealing, Council has planned to seal Maraeroa Road, in the interest of good asset stewardship and also providing safe access to a developing tourist destination. The majority of this work (63%) will be funded by NZTA subsidy. The major upgrade of the Te Kuiti Water Treatment Plant, to ensure we meet the water quality requirements set out under the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (Revised 2008), will continue in the 2016/17 year with the expected completion to be in 2017-18 financial year instead of next year as originally planned in the LTP. We will continue to maintain and renew the sewerage assets at various schemes in order to improve their condition and performance, with a focus on pump stations, reticulation network and treatment plant components.
graph The Cost of Service Statement illustrates that Council’s planned Operating Expenditure for the 2016/17 financial year is lower than the forecast contained in the LTP for the 2016/17 year and the forecast Operating revenue for 2016/17 is 8.2% higher than the LTP forecast resulting in the Net Operating Expenditure for the EAP 2016/17 ($16.11 million) being 5.5% less than the forecast contained in the LTP 2015-25 for the corresponding year (of $17.04 million). The capital expenditure planned for 2016/17 is higher than the forecast contained in the LTP for the 2016/17 year mainly due to the re-sequencing of the Te Kuiti Water Treatment Plant project, sealing of Maraeroa Road and work to be carried out at our quarries to meet Health and Safety requirements. Overall Public Debt is tracking well and is below forecasts set in the 2015-25 LTP. Debt is forecast in the EAP 2016/17 to be $52 million at 30 June 2017 compared to $55 million in the LTP. This is despite the capital expenditure forecast. Detb-graph
The total rate revenue required for the 2016/17 financial year is $19,058,000 (excluding GST) which is an average overall 2.86% increase over the current year’s (2015-16) total rate requirement. It is substantially lower than the 3.99% increase forecast in the LTP 2015-25 for the 2016/17 year. The decrease is a result of prioritising needs and re-sequencing works where appropriate. More favourable interest rates and lower than forecast public debt have also been contributors to the reduction in rates requirement. Forecast-total-rates
The following provides a summary of where rates are spent on a weekly basis using indicative residential and rural properties. graph

15 April – 13 May: Feedback period 18 May: Meet Elected Members 31 May: Council Meeting – Consider Feedback 28 June:  Adoption of EAP 2016/17
Where can I find more Information? The following 2016/17 EAP information will be available on our website, if you need it:
  • Financial statements
  • Funding Impact Statement
  • Rates examples
  • Changes to Accounting Policies
  • Information on the Activities.
Hard copies of this information are available to view at our main office on Queen Street, Te Kuiti or alternatively please contact Council on freephone 0800 932 4357. Have feedback? Council is not carrying out a formal consultation process for the EAP 2016/17 and therefore there will be no formal Submissions, Hearings or Deliberations taking place. However, you are welcome to provide feedback on Council’s plans and financial forecasts for the 2016/17 year, should you wish to until Friday 13 May 2016. Comments and feedback can be sent to the Council by: Email: eap16-17@waitomo.govt.nz Post: Waitomo District Council, PO Box 404, Te Kuiti 3941. Elected Members are available at anytime to discuss your feedback via phone or email. Their contacts details are provided below. If you wish to discuss any feedback, your Elected Members will be available at the Te Kuiti Railway Station Building No 3 (brick building), between 9am – 12pm on 18 May 2016.
Your Elected Representatives
MayorBrianHannaMayor Brian Hanna Feel free to contact me on Brian.hanna@waitomo.govt.nz Phone: (07) 878 7227 Mobile: 021 726 282
DeputyMayorGuyWhitakerDeputy Mayor Guy Whitaker Drop me an email if you wish to share your views: Guy.whitaker@waitomo.govt.nz Phone (work): (07) 878 8147 Mobile: 021 151 5575
CouncillorLorreneTeKanawaCouncillor Lorrene Te Kanawa I welcome discussion on the Annual Plan – you can email Lorrene.tekanawa@waitomo.govt.nz Phone (Home): (07) 878 7306 Mobile: 027 333 8531
CouncillorTerryDaveyCouncillor Terry Davey I am always readily available to meet and discuss any queries. td@waitomo.govt.nz Phone: (07) 878 6330 Mobile: 021 755 099
CouncillorAllanGoddardCouncillor Allan Goddard I’m always happy to discuss the Annual Plan and you can contact me via email. Allan.goddard@waitomo.govt.nz Phone: (07) 878 7865
CouncillorPhilBrodieCouncillor Phil Brodie Feel free to contact me on email: phil.brodie@waitomo.govt.nz Phone: (07) 877 8033 Mobile: 027 347 9843
CouncillorSueSmithCouncillor Sue Smith I would like to hear from you to discuss the Annual Plan. Send me an email or phone. ss@waitomo.govt.nz Phone (07) 876 7518
Our Resident Survey will be arriving in letter boxes in early May. We invite Waitomo District residents to provide their opinion on the services and facilities we provide to the community. The annual survey is an important method used by Council. The feedback you share with us will be used to measure how we perform against our goals and also to help with future planning.
Waitomo as a place to live Creating vibrant communities by supporting community connections and development is a focus area for Council. This year we are seeking your opinion on life in the Waitomo District. We have enclosed an additional set of questions in the resident survey and hope that you will take the time to let us know your thoughts. The information we gather will help our District develop a game plan to sustain and grow our District community, to retain our people and attract new residents and business to the district. We would greatly appreciate your feedback. Completed surveys returned to Council with contact details will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win a $200 grocery voucher. The survey will also be made available to complete online via Council’s website.
The next and final stage of the Railway Building restoration project will begin on the 11th April. The project will see the internal refurbishment of railway building 1 and the structural linking of that building with the Te Kuiti i-SITE Visitor Information Centre. During the construction period the Visitor Information Centre Service will be temporarily relocated to the old NZ Post Building on Rora Street. The creation of a Community Space in building 1 will complete the project to create a vibrant hub within Te Kuiti’s CBD. We will have the ability to provide some services from the completed Visitor Information Centre and local community groups and organisations will have the opportunity to let the space within building 1. Its anticipated that the construction period will be 3-4 months. The immediate area around building 1 will be fenced off; however the majority of construction work will be internal. Please take extra care when in the vicinity of the Railway Plaza over the next few months.
Our clever Library team have organised a fun-filled Easter Holiday activity pack for children 5-12 years of age. Puzzles and interesting crafts to create will keep the kids interested in reading and learning new things about farming and harvesting. We invite you to come on down to the Library during the school holidays, borrow two library books and receive a free holiday pack.  Available from Monday April 18.
Waitomo District Library Open Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday 9.30 am to 12.30 pm Phone (07) 878 1028
Did you know that you are not allowed to park your vehicle on Council reserve land in the Waitomo District? A common practice identified by Council is people who park their vehicle in a public place (rest area, reserve etc) whether that be to advertise the vehicle for sale or to use the place for the purpose of private parking. The Bylaw is aimed at controlling specific activities within Waitomo District, to help ensure that our community is safe, healthy and vibrant. Under the Bylaw it is an offence to:
  • drive or park vehicles in public places except in areas set aside for the driving or parking of vehicles; and
  • leave any vehicle on a road in circumstances where it is used or may be reasonably be assumed to be used, for the purpose of drawing attention to any advertising sign, notice or placard carried upon or affixed to that vehicle. This part of the bylaw shall extend to include all areas of State Highways over which control of signs has been specifically delegated to Council by the New Zealand Transport Agency.
A person who is convicted of an offence under the Public Places Bylaw could face a fine. Vehicles that are parked on public places that are not intended for that purpose pose a danger to public health and safety. The practice can be a potential distraction for passing motorists and is detrimental to the amenity of the district. Council recommends people park their vehicles in a safe manner, on the roadside outside of their own private property or on private land.
There are now two new telecommunication towers in Aria and Benneydale. To confirm if you can get Rural Broadband from a tower visit the Vodafone website and enter your property address. Alternatively contact Vodafone on 0800 777 042.
Getting connected As well as Vodafone the following businesses are selling rural broadband services from the towers in the Waitomo District: Spark are also providing wireless broadband services from the two new towers. You may have also noticed some better coverage from your Spark mobile phone. In February Spark’s sites located at the Eight Mile Junction and SH3 south of Piopio were upgraded to 4G. Switching to a new service or connecting for the first time may seem daunting. You may have questions or need advice. Waitomo District Council would like to facilitate a get-together with the telecommunication suppliers to provide the community with the opportunity to find out the best options for your home and business. We would like to hear from local residents. Register your interest by phoning Rachael Laver – Economic Development Officer at Waitomo District Council on 07 878 0800.
The safety of people travelling on rural roads is very important. One of the purposes of the Land Transport Bylaw is to establish rules about the movement of stock on roads. Our aim is to ensure that potential danger and inconvenience to other road users is minimised and to protect the road network. Council’s Public Places Bylaw requires that people have adequate control of their stock when in a public place, and give consideration to other people using that place. It also requires that owners prevent the stock from wandering or being at large. Roads, reserves and beaches are all public places, where the stock is not permitted to be unless the prior consent has been given by a Council Officer. WDC has had an increase in the number of complaints from concerned residents about cattle, horses, sheep and other stock making their way out onto rural roads and private property. We are seeking the cooperation of owners to ensure the management and keeping of stock comply with the rules contained in Council’s Bylaws. It is the responsibility of every owner of stock to ensure the animals are adequately confined and do not wander or gain access onto public property. An owner of stock is responsible for any damages caused by their animals wandering onto the road. The owner of stock is responsible for public safety or any damage to public or private property, or injury to stock, which may arise from roaming stock. Owners of wandering stock can face criminal liability under the Crimes Act 1961 (sections 156 and 157). If a land owner or occupier fails to take necessary steps to ensure their livestock remain adequately fenced in, they will be at risk of endangering the safety or health of the public (especially road users). If their stock causes a crash and negligence are proven, they may be prosecuted. Wandering stock may be impounded by Animal Control Officers and all costs associated with the impounding (officer time, transportation and sustenance) are recovered from the owner. If the stock is not claimed, it may be disposed of in accordance with the Impounding Act 1955. The Land Transport Bylaw and Public Places Bylaw can be viewed on Council’s website. Enquiries regarding animals and stock on roads can be made by phoning 0800 932 4357, or email info@waitomo.govt.nz
Local Government Elections will be held on Saturday 8th October 2016. If you want to vote on the future of the Waitomo district, then you need to be enrolled by Friday, 12th August 2016. Enrolling to vote means you can have a say on the people who will make important decisions on what happens in your community over the next three years. You need to be enrolled on either the resident or ratepayers electoral roll to be entitled to vote. There will be campaigns running to get as many people as possible enrolled to vote for the local elections.
Elections Timetable Friday, 15 July: Nominations open Friday, 12 August: Nominations close at 12 noon Electoral rolls close. Friday 16 – Wednesday 21 September: Delivery of Voting Papers to electors by post Friday, 16 September: Saturday, 8 October Voting Period Saturday, 8 October: Election Day. Voting closes at 12 noon. Progress results will be available and the declaration of the final results will be made as soon as possible.