The Deputy Mayor says he's on a mission to make the community more aware of their actual "liability" when it comes to the Performing Arts Centre (PAC) .
Cr Peter Walker was speaking about the council's recent decision to press ahead with the facility's construction. It is conditional on negotiating the price with preferred tenderer Zauner Constructions down to $16.5m.
On top of that will be $2.235m in council costs, which includes demolition of the McDermott Centre's rear section, electrical, excavation, archaeological work and more.
A report will come back to councillors on the negotiations in coming months.
Cr Walker voted in favour of the move at the May 21 meeting. In open forum, speaker Tempe Hornibrook said that Cr Walker had previously told a meeting that his "cut off figure" for the PAC was $12m.
But the Deputy Mayor told The Post this was not correct.
"My bullet was always what we had to borrow," he said.
"Yes, the estimate is now $18.5m but it is not costing any more in loans than before; it is still $6.3m. There is no extra cost to the ratepayer."
The work is proposed to be funded from:
- General fund revenue -$1m;
- Grants - $7.5m;
- Lilac Time Reserve fund - $1,252,081;
- Multi-purpose venue reserve - $488,123;
- Section 94A reserve - $459,796;
- Loans - $6.3m;
- Land sales - $1.5m.
Low-interest internal borrowings, transferring from the water or sewer funds, are also an option. But currently, this requires Ministerial approval.
At a recent series of Sydney meetings with State Ministers and departments, general manager Warwick Bennett, Mayor Bob Kirk and Cr Peter Walker pressed the case for this restriction to be removed. The Mayor says there are already enough checks and balances to ensure financial transparency, including the government's Fit for the Future guidelines.
The council is also considering internal borrowings for the aquatic centre's upgrade. The first stage of that project, estimated to cost $29.5m, will be funded through $15m in loans, $10m in grants and $4.5m from council land sales.
The Southern Region Joint Regional Planning Panel will consider the redevelopment at a meeting at the council chambers at noon, Monday, June 17.
Loans may also be needed for a proposed new $9m to $10m hockey facility at the Carr Confoy fields.
While in Sydney, Mr Bennett and Crs Kirk and Walker met with NSW Sports Infrastructure and Regional NSW Minister John Barilaro about the project.
"We have voiced a request (for support) and left NSW Sports Infrastructure with information," Cr Walker said.
"...Our timeline is running out. Something needs to be in place by the end of this year so we can have the project shovel ready...We've been told by NSW Sports Infrastructure we can't go to them unless we have everything ready to go."
That means having an approved development application. Cr Walker said all design drawings and engineering had been completed and the application would be lodged soon.
The council is also talking to the federal government about funding.
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