Happy 2021, everyone!
Although it is almost a month into the new year, I think it’s still not too late to wish you all a good year!
It started with a splash, when the heavens opened on January 2 and we had widespread flooding across the district.
It interrupted the holiday break for a lot of people, and I want to express my thanks to our Waitaki District Council staff and contractors who were back at their desks or out and about dealing with the challenges and damage from the floods.
There’s still some way to go, but a lot of the repair work has been carried out, thanks to the good work of those people.
Responding well to an emergency event is part of what a good council does, and we continue to work hard to make our council better – and to make Waitaki the best place to be.
As part of that work, we undertook a full assessment of the organisation when we commissioned Equip to put us under the CouncilMARK microscope.
CouncilMARK is an objective way to test our systems, our structure and to find out more clearly our strengths and weaknesses.
While we were very pleased to get a BBB rating (fourth best of nine ratings), the main point of doing the assessment was to find out those weaknesses that we could work on.
Even with a relatively good rating, there are still plenty of things we can do to make us better, and to give our residents and ratepayers the best service that they can afford.
Using ratepayer money comes with a high level of responsibility which our councillors and I take seriously.
Not everyone will agree with those priorities or projects, but they are carried out to improve our district, for all our residents.
The year ahead will be another busy one with a lot on the agenda – and fingers crossed we don’t have another Covid lockdown.
But I can assure readers that we will continue to work on your behalf, to provide services as best as possible, and to respond to the many, varied needs of our wide and beautiful district.
We have a lot to talk about with our wider community and I hope many of you will take the opportunity to engage with us, whether it is on the district plan review, the long term plan, or some of the other important work we have ahead of us.
So best wishes for 2021, and I hope it is a very good one for you.
- Gary Kircher is the Mayor for Waitaki