Council reduces capital expenditure programme to more realistic levels
The Council’s Operations and Finance Committee today approved changes to the capital expenditure programme for the 2017/18 financial year, reducing it to a level that better reflects the amount of work that can realistically be delivered within a year.
Operations and Finance Committee Chair Councillor Michael Scott say the changes reflect the current Council’s strong focus on a financially sustainable approach to maintaining and upgrading essential infrastructure and the delivery of new assets.
"They also make sense because we know that like many other councils we regularly deliver fewer capital improvements than we say we’re going to at the start of the year," says Councillor Michael Scott.
"If the rate of capital expenditure continues as forecast in the 2015/35 Long Term Plan (LTP), the Council will exceed its current borrowing limit of $200 million, most likely at some point in the 2019/20 year.
"The clock is ticking – we need to act now to reduce our planned capital expenditure before we find ourselves unable to stick within the boundaries of our own financial strategy. The changes we made today are the first step.
"There will be some tough conversations in the next few months about what we can and can’t afford to do. But in my view, if ever there was a Council that was up for it, it’s this one.”
Mayor K Gurunathan says the Council’s current financial situation reflects many years of unaffordable spending and is a perfect example of how short term thinking can have a negative impact on a community many years into the future.
"The changes we approved today are just the beginning of a journey towards getting a grip on our debt levels," says Mayor Gurunathan.
"These are hard calls to make, but we must take a long term and pragmatic view on how we meet the needs of our communities not just for the next three years, but for the next 20 to 30.
"the Council wants to spend less to pay back more debt, and would be working hard with Council staff to deliver this through the next long term plan, which is now being developed.
"Our communities have been clear that they want to see our council living within its means. We’ve heard that.”
Details can be found in the paper presented to the committee.
17 August 2017