Tumultuous regional year but not all bad

Rob Phillips
Rob Phillips
Southland's regional council annual report denotes a tumultuous year, but highlighted not all was bad.

Environment Southland councillors adopted the draft report in an extraordinary meeting of council yesterday.

The report details council maintained essential services and focused on delivering on its key priorities, but experienced a significant loss of income and some targets were not met.

The 2019-20 annual plan forecasted a deficit of $187,000 and during the year, Covid-19 caused a loss of income from marine fees.

However, a reduction in expenditure resulted in a surplus of $5000.

The draft report states it was assumed there would be no visiting cruise ships during the 2020-21 financial year, resulting in reduction in other income of $2.8million.

Despite this, council staff were "cautiously optimistic" the council would operate as usual even with the anticipated future loss of income.

Chief executive Rob Phillips said it was a tumultuous year, with serious floods and the lockdown. He said the year’s events had a serious effect on the Southland community as well as on ES business.

Chairman Nicol Horrell said while it was pleasing to see the council in a positive financial position this year, the ongoing loss of income from Covid-19 and increasing expectations from the Government and the community meant the years ahead would not be an easy period.

These included the new freshwater regulations.

Highlights of the year included progress on the proposed Southland water and land plan, the regional pest hub being launched, 50 farm environment plans developed and 964 incidents reported to the compliance team.

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