South West TAFE will chip in $359,000 a year to help run Warrnambool's new library after city councillors voted through a 30-year agreement.
Just how much it will cost ratepayers to keep the new learning and library hub operational remains unclear with details not included in the council's public documents.
To keep the current library afloat, the council has been spending just shy of $1 million a year but a councillor sounded the alarm last year that the costs of the new centre could be higher.
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Cr Angie Paspaliaris in May last year raised concerns about higher operating costs of the new $20.25 million library, which is under construction on the TAFE site.
"I have been, and continue to be, concerned about the large additional annual running cost and responsibility to council that this pilot project demands," she had said.
The council was asked how much the costs would be to ratepayers and when they would be known, but they are yet to respond.
Cr Vicki Jellie said the city should have had a new library a decade ago, but described the new facility as a coup.
She said it was exciting to have seen the new library grow over the past 12 months and works were on track to open in September.
"This important project will benefit so many in the community and surrounding areas and have the state-of the-art facility sited in the CBD and in a highly respected educational precinct is a coup for us all," she said.
"Really we should have had a new library 10 years ago or more, so this is exciting for all of us working together with South West TAFE."
Cr Jellie said the operation of the joint project would be the responsibility of the council, so it was appropriate that council's chief executive officer be delegated the authority to enter into the agreement.
She said it would ensure swift action and that the process was delivered on time.
Cr Ben Blain said the library would be a key part of creating better outcomes for everyone in the city.
"It is going to really change how so many access services and access information within our city, and our region," he said.
Cr Blain said that under the agreement, the council would be responsible for all the internal fittings, while TAFE would be responsible for external fittings.
He said TAFE would pay a fee per annum to run the library.
That amount was set at $359,000 plus CPI.
"It should be a really great outcome for everyone in the community," he said.
The motion was passed unanimously.
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