Council wrap

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Strong bottom line
Queenstown Lakes District Council produced a $17.3 million surplus this last financial year – up from $6.6m previously. Finance boss Stewart Burns says: “It’s a very strong result. That surplus that’s generated is applied to either asset generation, in terms of capital works, or debt repayment.” Burns says the most pleasing aspect is operating costs at 4.5 per cent under budget for a saving of $3.6m. 

Rates blunder fix
Councillors have a proposal to fix Queenstown council’s rates blunder. Homeowners and businesses received wildly varied rates bills when the first invoices generated by a new system were issued in August – some with 30 per cent rises. Council adopted a replacement rates structure at Tuesday’s full council meeting. Council finance boss Stewart Burns says the next step once rates are reset is to revise assessments. Invoices will be sent out on November 10.” 

Fingers crossed on marina
Frankton Marina is now likely to be off-shore but secured to the land. Developer Lakes Marina Project (LMP) had hoped to create an inshore marina but found there’s insufficient space on the Frankton Road site. LMP – local boatie Alan Kirker backed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur brothers Nasser and Iraj Barabi – has submitted to Queenstown council preliminary designs, which envisage up to 200 off-shore berths with the swampy land becoming carparking and facilities. A working party is expected to recommend LMP as the preferred developer once designs are reviewed, with construction possible by March. 

Water waste warning
Water meters could be introduced as Queenstown council attempts to slash $100m in costs during the next decade. A study on metering and charging will be carried out next year. At Tuesday’s council meeting councillor John Mann said: “It’s clear to me the most effective way is a self-management system using meters. I’d really like this council to give a direction that we use metering as the default position.” Council must achieve a 20 per cent reduction in water use to meet financial targets. Councillors heard water delivery and infrastructure were the council’s major cost.