$320k surplus set aside for development
New Plymouth District Council’s $320,000 surplus will go into a fund to boost economic development without affecting rates.
The council had a choice of using the money to repay debt, applying against rates in funds for disaster relief or economic development, or a combination of both.
On Tuesday, councillors voted to put the money into the economic development fund, to further progress the
Tapuae Roa economic development plan.
Councillor Richard Handley, who moved the motion, said it followed on from the discussion on hydrogen energy and the need to secure a strong economic future.
‘‘I think Tapuae Roa gave us the lead and we’ve put aside some funds in the Long Term Plan, but this will actually give it an additional kick.’’
He said the projects under Tapuae Roa, including a plan for developing hydrogen and a clean energy development centre, were very important developments.
‘‘I would be very pleased to see that this fund be made available to offset rates and assist in economic development in the years ahead.’’
Chief financial officer Alan Bird said the government’s decision to not issue any more offshore oil and gas permits resulted in the Tapuae Roa plan being accelerated.
‘‘This has been achieved with additional funding from both the council and central government. Council increased funding to Venture Taranaki Trust by $350,000 per annum.’’
Last year, mayor Neil Holdom’s casting vote saw the 2017 $600,000 surplus used to repay some of the council’s $110 million debt.
Councillors also endorsed the formation of the Three Waters Working Party, which looked at strategy for water infrastructure, an agreement on how to manage the Rewa Rewa Reserve, and adopted the Speed Limits Bylaw.
Cr Harry Duynhoven, who is also on the board for the AA in Taranaki, said the AA had concerns over forming a blanket speed limit.
‘‘That is not the intention here and there is a move in some areas of the country to have all rural roads downgraded to lower speed limits. It is appropriate in some places but not in all.’’
The council also discussed regional waste, with Taranaki’s three councils reviewing whether to complete the multimilliondollar central landfill after an offer from a landfill near Marton.
‘‘This will actually give it an additional kick.’’
Councillor Richard Handley