A HAIL storm enroute to Bulahdelah last week did not dampen MidCoast Council ’s spirits at the latest community update meeting.
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On the agenda was the development of Council’s strategic plan, infrastructure backlog and community priorities.
General Manager Glenn Handford justified the rate rise saying, “You can’t go to the government with your begging bowl all the time and just say give us a handout.”
Council has applied for a $50 million loan to address the backlog, and have requested the State Government match it dollar for dollar.
If successful, the rate rise will be used to pay back the low interest loan.
“Stephen Bromhead has made a number of public commitments that he will get us the $50 million,” Mr Handford said.
“If the funding request is unsuccessful, Council would then review whether to borrow an additional $50million for the project.”
A $30 million road care program is already in place, funded through merger savings.
Mr Handford one of the first tasks of the new Council will be developing the strategic plan.
“We have done a lot of work on the branding strategy and engaging with our community, and we have pulled all that information back in to inform us of our strategic plan,” he said.
“There have been 132 consultations on 26 projects held over the past 15 months.”
Mr Handford said community consultation and engagement will ongoing.
MidCoast Council is continuing to work out of the Gloucester, Taree, Great Lakes and MidCoast Water offices.
Speaking with News Of The Area, Mr Handford said the cost of bringing the whole Council under the one roof would be significant.
“We are investigating if we can move the Council into one building, but at present, there is so much funding required for roads and bridges,” he said.
“We feel it is more important to look at the structures and get those fixed first.”
Addressing the meeting, Mayor David West said he is passionate about “working with the team to move the Council into the future”.
He plans to visit Bulahdelah on a regular basis.
By Daniel SAHYOUN