Just days before the local body elections Kaipara District Council has farewelled Peter Winder, the Crown manager charged with guiding it toward self-management.
Winder presented his final report at last week's council meeting, saying he had fulfilled the terms of his role given by the Ministry of Local Government in 2017.
Winder first came to grips with the ongoing legal cases and other problems faced by the debt-stricken, embattled council in 2012 when the Government dismantled the then-council. He was one of three commissioners put in to sort out the mess.
His departure comes after five years as a commissioner and then as the Crown manager working alongside the council elected in 2016; his task ''to guide rather than direct''. The role was always intend to expire in October 12 this year, election day.
His vote of confidence in ongoing councils to take care of governance was accompanied by the presentation and adoption of a good-news 2018/19 Annual Report.
Investment and increased growth in Kaipara were two of the highlights in the report, signalled by a $28.24 million allocation to establish the project-pushing Kaipara Kickstart.
With the council contributing $1m and the rest funded by the Provincial Growth Fund and the National Land Transport Fund, Kaipara Kickstart incorporates three linked projects utilising the district's natural assets: improving roading, developing water-based transport and growing high-value food crops.
The report shows the council has reduced debt by $1m in the past year to $45m, down from $76m in 2013/14.
Growth in building consents and subdivisions had been higher than expected, resulting in greater income from financial and development contributions; showing a marked rise in income in the last few years, from $950,000 in 2013/14 to $3.9m in 2018/19.
The council invested $14.4m in capital works to improve roads and roll-out LED streetlights, and completed a $1.2m stormwater and flood reduction project at low-lying Quail Way, Mangawhai.
Chief executive Louise Miller said the council had achieved a marked improvement in customer service this year, leading to a 7 per cent rise in resident satisfaction in a Customer Perception Survey.
"We've created a new website, reduced call waiting times, and launched new online tools to update our communities about what's important to them and seek people's input.''
Miller said the council was working alongside communities to help them thrive, in the 2018/19 year awarding $300,000 of grants for community projects and making $300,000 available for reserve projects.
The Annual Report 2018/19 is available on the Kaipara District Council's website.