CCS funding report reveals rejection of Council’s admin building sale is “temporary”

The funding model for the Cultural and Civic Space project has been brought into question.

 

ALTERATIONS to the funding plan for the controversial $81m Cultural and Civic Space project were questioned by Cr Paul Amos at a recent meeting of Coffs Harbour City Council.

Cr Amos stated in a Question on Notice on Thursday 12 August that the project was now not fully funded into the extended term of the project following Council’s recent rejection of sale offers for its Castle Street Council administration building and Council Chambers, which was to partly fund the Cultural and Civic Space project.

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“A reasonable and anticipated offer on the Castle St property was declined,” Cr Amos stated.

“It is a legislative requirement that all projects and resolutions have funding requirements and sources clearly determined.

“This project is not fully funded into the extended term of the funding lifecycle.”

Cr Amos questioned whether Council was operating within the requirements of the Local Government Act to alter the funding plan without due consideration to a further report presented by the General Manager outlining the alternate funding options available and thus resolving a responsible position as to the new funding plan.

Council responded by stating that Cr Amos’ assertion that the project was not fully funded into the extended term of the project was not correct.

Council stated that the Cultural and Civic Space project funding comprised T2S Reserve Funds ($10.5m), Loan Borrowing ($50.265m), Property Sales’ proceeds ($3m), Interim Loan Borrowing ($17m), and a Public Library Infrastructure Grant ($500,000), which all amount to $81.265m.

“The proceeds from sale of the four properties was reduced by $17m (for Castle Street and Rigby House) and an interim loan added (variable rate and interest only) for up to a five-year term to provide Council flexibility in the sale process for the two properties to ensure the best value for the community can be realised,” Council responded.

The Council response also revealed that withdrawal of the sale of Council’s administration building and Council Chambers was “temporary”, until Council is provided with a report on a Scoping and Feasibility Study for a future Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue.

“Once the study is reported to Council, the current resolved position means the property known as 2 Castle Street may again be available for sale,” Council stated.

“If Council resolves an alternative position, a funding issue may arise which Council will need to address at that time.

“As the interim funding model is in place and no property has been permanently withdrawn from sale at this time, Council is operating in accordance with contemporary financial management principles contained in the Local Government Act, with regards to the funding of the Cultural and Civic Space Project.”

 

By Emma DARBIN

 

Cr Paul Amos has questioned the legitimacy of Council’s funding model for the Cultural and Civic Space project following Council’s rejection of the sale of its administration building to help fund the project. Photos: Coffs Harbour City Council.

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