South Taranaki District Council has recorded an $8m surplus for the 2017/18 financial year but its debt has also increased by $4.43m over the same period.

The council's surplus far exceeded a budgeted surplus of $1.6m which council chief executive Waid Crockett said was because its Long Term Investment Fund (LTIF) returned $11.99m which was $2.6m more than budgeted.

The fund is now at $143.21m - up from $137.43m in 2016/17.

However, debt also increased from $123.75m to $128.18m over the same period.

The council draws $5.8m a year from the LTIF which provides $3.87m to subsidise general rates and a further $1.93m to service loans for specific community projects.

"In this way the LITF has returned almost $100m back to the South Taranaki Community since it was started in 1997," Crockett said.

"All revenue over and above the annual drawdown of $5.8m is returned to the fund to build it up for those years when it doesn't perform so well."

The council's annual report which was adopted recently shows progress made with two of council's key priorities; the Hāwera Town Centre Strategy and the District Pathways Programme.

"The second Hāwera Town Centre project started with the demolition of the old butcher shop in High St to make way for Korimako Lane; a new laneway connection to the Napier Street carpark," Crockett said.

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"Good progress was also made on planning the new Centre for Heritage, Arts, Library, Culture and Information."

Two new pathways were completed, one linking Denby Rd to Fairfield R and the Manawapou Viaduct Walkway, which follows the old Ingahape Rd from the State Highway at the bottom of Manawapou Hill, was also opened.

South Taranaki District Council Annual Report highlights

* 90km of roads were resealed and 1.5km of footpaths replaced
* The Normanby roadside rest area was completed and opened
* Bridge 160 on Eltham Rd was replaced for $500,000
* An electric vehicle charging station was built in Ōpūnake (Napier St)
* $2 million in upgrades were undertaken at the Inaha Water Treatment Plant and the Inaha water supply was connected by pipeline to the Kapuni water supply
* All council cemeteries were digitally mapped
* South Taranaki opened its Sporting Hall of Fame at TSB Hub with James Hunter (rugby), Roger Cox (shearing) and Adine Wilson (netball) being the first inductees
* The Hāwera Aquatic Centre had 98,528 visitors, their second busiest year since its upgrade was completed in 2009
* Earthquake structural assessments have been completed for all major council facilities with the rest to be completed over the next three years
* The Tapuae Roa – Make Way for Taranaki Regional Economic Development Strategy was launched