FREE TUESday NOVEMBER 1 2016 379 7100 Selwyn Times Proudly locally owned and published by Star Media Award winning publishing group Kea (Nestor Notabilis) NZ Strawberries $ 2 .49 a punnet OPEN 7 DAYS Phone 349 5952 Cnr Springs Rd & Marshs Rd, Prebbleton (next to Milanese Restaurant) Ladbrooks, Tai Tapu, Leeston, Lincoln, Southbridge, Prebbleton, Halswell, Rolleston, Templeton, Burnham, West Melton, Darfield, Arthurs Pass Growth reason for big surplus PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN ON THE CATWALK: Lincoln model Jaime Spencer’s career is set to take off – literally. The 19-year-old will fly to the United States in February to take part in New York Fashion Week, after being selected from the Ozlink fashion programme. •Read more, page 22. Influence on rates not known yet • By Tom Doudney STRONGER than expected growth has lead to a big surplus for the district but it’s too early to know if this will lead to smaller rates rises. The annual report, for the 2015/2016 year showed revenue of $148.9 million, well above the $116.3 million which had been budgeted for. Expenditure for the year was $86.9 million compared with the budget of $88.3 million. The district council has already pegged back its rate increase for the current year to three per cent, instead of the six per cent it had projected in the Long Term Plan, as a result of its strong financial position. Mayor Sam Broughton said the report was good news but it was not yet known how it would influence rates in the next financial year. “If we can keep rates down that’s certainly an aim of the council but we want to make sure we are doing the projects that are needed for our growing district too,” Mr Broughton said. In its 2015-2025 Long Term Plan the district council projected annual rates rises to be 4.5 per cent on average. Mr Broughton (left) said much of the extra revenue, such as that which came in the form of development contributions, was already committed for future spending. “It’s actually getting money earlier than we expected rather than getting money we didn’t expect at all, so it doesn’t just correlate with rates income.” The report highlighted “extraordinarily high” revenue from development contributions and vested assets, as growth in the district continued to outpace expectations. Development contributions revenue was $22 million, $8.3 million above the budgeted $13.8 million; and vested asset revenue was $34.8 million, $11.7 million higher than the budgeted $23.1 million. However, as development contributions must be spent on growth-related costs and vested assets are non-cash revenue, neither could be used to reduce rates. Dividend revenue was $10.1 million, $4.7 million above the budgeted $5.4 million, due to its investments in Orion New Zealand Ltd and Sicon Ltd. It was largely this revenue which had allowed for the smaller rates increase for the current year. The district council reported a positive operating cashflow of $36 million and reduced borrowings from $55.1 million to $35.2 million during the year. The $20 million borrowings reduction reflected the strong cashflow position. There were 2687 building consents issued over the year.