A NEW investment fund using rates revenue has been suggested by Warrnambool’s mayor Michael Neoh to help build major wish-list projects such as upgrades of Reid Oval and Lady Bay harbour.
He has calculated that a one per cent share of rates would generate at least $1 million in the first four years with an ongoing $250,000 a year.
Cr Neoh has likened it to a micro version of the federal Nation Building initiative and hopes to convince colleagues to launch the proposal in the next budget.
“I’m not going to force the issue, but rather try to achieve a consensus,” he said.
“The community and councillors often put forward special projects but in a number of cases do not identify the source of council’s contribution. A rolling infrastructure fund would mean we would have local money ready when government funding opportunities arise.
“It is an opportunity for the current council to leave a legacy not only during the current term, but on an ongoing basis. The fund would provide a dedicated and deliberate strategy to facilitate city-wide major projects.”
Cr Neoh said to maximise opportunities council needed to have planning and funding ready to roll. He cited city centre revitalisation, harbour upgrade, AquaZone redevelopment, Reid Oval upgrade and a new library as projects already put forward but yet to be prioritised.
“I will put forward the strategy to my fellow councillors with hope they will embrace the concept and show some high-level leadership to address infrastructure needs of the city,” he said.
“The proposition will no doubt test the councillors’ will to put in place a visionary funding strategy that can support priority projects.”