Fox talks saleyards cash

RURAL city administrators have met with stakeholders to describe council’s economic landscape ahead of a potential $3.6m upgrade to the Wangaratta Saleyards.

The $1.93m spent on governance issues as a result of the council crisis was at the forefront of conversation when chief administrator Ailsa Fox met with the rural city’s agriculture and agribusiness advisory committee this week.

In the absence of a design plan, still being drawn up, which will give a rough indication of how much a new roof and soft flooring at the saleyards will cost, Ms Fox said the meeting had “purely financial” discussions of how Wangaratta council is positioned.

“I wanted the committee to understand council’s budgetary constraints ahead of us making a decision on the long-term sustainability of borrowing a large amount of money to pay for the saleyards upgrade,” Ms Fox said.

“A financial loss has been incurred from the previous council that will take the equivalent of a 10 per cent rate rise over the next decade to pay back and this has had a dramatic effect on council.”

Council has a provision for a $1m loan in the current year’s budget to carry out works on the saleyards and expected borrowings of another $700,000 in the 2014-15 budget, however, this will be reviewed in the upcoming budget process.

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