Council slashes $25m from spending

The Whangarei District Council (WDC) has shelved more than $25 million of spending in an attempt to limit debt.

The decision was signed off in a council meeting yesterday and cuts will see funding and resources for projects deferred to bring figures in line with the budgeted debt position of $161.5m, as set by the council in the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan.

The list of projects to be deferred was drafted in December 2012, then reviewed and updated on February 15.

Porowini Ave stormwater improvements has been added to the final list of deferred projects.

More than $5.87m in roading projects, $1.14m in water projects, $4.96m in waste and $11.55m in parks have been pushed forward to next year. Community services had $895,000 worth of projects deferred, with a further $313,000 deferred from libraries and $459,000 from support services. Councillor Crichton Christie said he was concerned this move would cause distrust. He said for people who had been excited to hear their dusty roads would be sealed, the news that it would not be going ahead until next year would be a hard knock.

Councillor Aaron Edwards said the way forward for the council was to be more upfront about which parts of an annual plan were realistically going to happen. Councillor Brian McLachlan insisted that these projects must be prioritised for next year. Many were dependent on internal borrowing from the Property Reinvestment Reserve, which was $20m under budget.

Projects such as the completion of the Lower Hatea River Crossing and projects which would cause additional costs if delayed were prioritised.

- Northern Advocate

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