Pools SRV sunk as council abandons move; future financial implications flagged

Pools SRV sunk as council abandons move; future financial implications flagged

The proposed Special Rate Variation (SRV) to cover the cost of operation, maintenance and upgrades to the shires six swimming pools has been abandoned.

At the council meeting on January 29, council agreed to formally notify the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) of its intention.

It follows an earlier post to social media by council on January 11 that it regretted the timing of rate notices which included information about the SRV. Council said then that it was reassessing its position with respect to the proposed SRV.

The proposal at the council meeting had been to "defer" the SRV but with so much work on the bushfire recovery to be carried out by council staff there was little prospect of its reconsideration over the coming year.

Cr Russell Fitzpatrick suggested that the matter should be withdrawn.

"This is a disaster like none of us have ever seen before in our lives. The issue has to be tackled but at the present time and over next 12 months it shouldn't be," Cr Fitzpatrick said.

But he acknowledged that there would be financial implications.

As part of the motion councillors voted to defer the adoption of the draft Swimming Pools Strategy in line with the recommendation from staff.

Council staff have flagged that if the matter is deferred (or in this case abandoned) council should consider the goals that it adopted of maintaining all six pools.

The conflict between maintaining all six pools to a high standard and the cost that it imposed on council's general fund was a driver in seeking an SRV.

Council received a number of strongly worded emails and letters against the proposal.

Any potential revisitation of these matters will now be a matter for future councils and would be assessed and determined with the bushfire recovery efforts and progress front of mind, council has said.

"With so many individuals and businesses in our community either directly or indirectly impacted by the bushfires, it is absolutely clear that any potential increase in rates would have resulted in an unnecessary burden being placed on our people at one of the most challenging times in our history," council said.

At this stage the operating costs for the existing six pools will be funded from council's general fund.,

The cost and timing of the capital upgrades for both Bega and Cobargo, scheduled to be completed in the next 10 years, will also require further consideration.

This story Pools SRV sunk as council abandons move; future financial implications flagged first appeared on Bega District News.

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