Port Pirie Regional Council proposes loan to help cover sport hub cost

QUESTION: Cr Kendall Jackson raised a question about a proposed loan covering some of the cost of the sport hub now under construction.

QUESTION: Cr Kendall Jackson raised a question about a proposed loan covering some of the cost of the sport hub now under construction.

Port Pirie Regional Council plans to borrow $2 million to help cover the cost of the $24 million sport hub now under construction.

PLAN: Deputy Mayor Cr Leon Stephens said if council failed "to stick to the financial plan, we will fall apart".

PLAN: Deputy Mayor Cr Leon Stephens said if council failed "to stick to the financial plan, we will fall apart".

This is outlined in the council’s 2018-19 draft budget which is open for public comment before being adopted.

At a special meeting on the rating strategy and business plan on Wednesday, Cr Kendall Jackson asked about funding for the sport project.

She said $3 million was required to be spent on the project and asked how this would link with the loan.

Council’s finance manager Lynn Walden replied that the loan would “support that”, meaning that it would be part of the $3 million outlay.

Other spending will be directed to the air-conditioning service at the art gallery.

Cr Dino Gadaleta told the meeting the council would spend “thousands of dollars” on public relations to promote the rating strategy among residents.

But he said it should instead surrender about $180,000 revenue by reducing the proposed total rate increase by one percent to 3.8 percent.

He said that in 2011 the average rates in Port Pirie had been ranked about 33rd in the state at $400. This had risen since to the average rate being the fourth-highest this year.

“We have come a long way forward to almost joining the highest residential rates,” he said. “We should now be giving something back to the people.”

Mrs Walden said the proposed total rate increase of 4.8 percent was consistent with the long-term financial plan. Deputy Mayor Leon Stephens said Cr Gadaleta raised similar issues about rates every year.

“If rate capping comes in, we will be in a good position,” he said. “Other councils will be in trouble like you would not believe. If we don’t stick to the financial plan, we will fall apart.

“The cost of our delivery of services has gone through the roof compared with 2010.”

Cr Neville Wilson said the council was likely to face rising costs, possibly of $400,000 to $500,000, with the sport hub.

He said this was because the council would be unable to “recoup” the money “from those who want to use” the hub.

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