GREG'S LEGACY

Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Can we afford a new Performing Arts Centre

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The proposal to build a new performing arts centre has been sold to us at $7.5 million. However, does anyone really believe that this will be it?

The $7.5 million covers the demolition of a perfectly good town hall and the building of a new centre, but does not cover the costs of all works required in the precinct such as traffic management. Can we assume that there might be another $500,000 or more to come before we even consider the cost overruns during construction?

Look what happened with the joined up government centre budget blow out – an extra $700,000 followed by a further $200,000 at the ratepayers expense.

Then there is the matter of operating costs. The Chronicle has reported that the current facility is becoming more expensive to operate. Seems strange to me then that the annual operating loss is about $110,000 yet the loss after construction of the new centre is proposed to be about $300,000. Suddenly $110,000 does not look so bad.

In a user pays society, would that indicate hiring costs will need to be increased to cover the loss? I don’t think community groups would appreciate that.

Now, if we are realistic and assume that the ratepayer’s total contribution to this project will be $3.5 million, then the annual interest only debt will be about $280,000.

If we now add $190,000 of additional operating costs we have a total figure of nearly $500,000 per annum more than we are paying now. This equates to 3% added to your rates, year in, year out….. until the debt is fully repaid.

I’m not prepared to wear that. Are you?

Plus of course none of this considers the principal of $3.5 million that has to be repaid as well.

The plans are grandiose and unnecessary. There are better, more cost effective options available that council should pursue. At least I think there are, but unless we test the market appropriately as council has not done with its tender process then none of us will know.

It begs the question, should we accept a $5,000,000 government grant if we are going to be hit with further rates increases to service the debt?

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Written by Greg Naylor

17 August 2006 at 5:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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