No rate rise to fund MidCoast Council office centralisation

MidCoast Council has given a reassurance ratepayers would not have to fund its planned move to Taree.

According to a draft financing strategy there would be no impact on rates or operational programs to fund the project.

Feedback was being sought on the draft financing strategy for the head office project, which investigations have found to be significantly more cost-effective than continuing to operate across multiple sites in Taree and Forster.  

In the draft financing strategy, funding for the $20 million office design and fit-out would come from a combination of savings realised through the merger ($7.2 million), sale of property assets ($4.8 million), and borrowings of up to $8 million, with repayments funded by leasing current administration buildings.

“The strategy clearly identifies that no special rate variation would be required for the project, and that operational funding for programs such as Council’s road improvement and capital works programs would remain untouched,” general manager, Adrian Panuccio said.

“We are seeking feedback from our community on the draft financing strategy and the impacts and benefits of moving to a single site.

“The gateway process being applied to the project has already determined that consolidating the Taree and Forster administrative functions in one location will provide a more efficient and economically viable option over the longer term.”

Information about the expected impacts and benefits of the relocation, including the retention of customer service points in all existing locations across the region, can be found on council website, along with the draft financing strategy and an online survey.

The information and survey also would be delivered as a flyer into letterboxes across the Mid Coast local government area next week.

Community members are encouraged to read the information flyer, visit www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/headoffice to find out more, or attend an information session later this month.

“We have released details of five information sessions, including one at the proposed Biripi Way office location, and we’re inviting community groups in smaller localities and villages to apply to host a session in their community.”

Full details and a link to the survey can be found by visiting www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/headoffice.

The consultation phase closes on Friday, December 14.

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