Council meeting update - 23 February, 2021

Tuesday 23 February, 2021

Here is an overview of outcomes from tonight’s Ordinary Meeting of Tamworth Regional Council:

 Councillors tonight agreed to call for expressions of interest to engage a lead architect for the proposed Tamworth Performing Arts Centre and Cultural Precinct. The move is the next step forward for the project. The concept of the precinct received strong community support in 2019 when Council sought feedback for its business case which included an estimated cost of $128 million based on an October 2022 start to construction. Securing a lead architect to develop and evolve the Functional and Technical Design Brief will ensure planning for the project reaches a stage where it is ready to act on funding opportunities when they may become available. There are no direct costs associated with the expression of interest process. The proposed centre and cultural precinct includes a 600-seat theatre, 200-seat studio theatre, 100-seat recital room, 200-seat function room, ampitheatre, event plaza, recording studio, café, studios for ABC New England North West and teaching studios and facilities for the Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music.

 A Bridges and Culverts Strategy adopted tonight will guide the continued improvement in the management of bridges and major culverts across the region. The strategy aims to build on improvements already made to the region’s bridge and major culvert network – over the past seven years, Council has secured almost $21.5 million in external funding to replace 14 deteriorating timber bridges with concrete structures, concrete box culverts or concrete causeways. Council contributed about $9 million towards those works. The strategy sets out a range of priorities for the future with timeframes ranging from short term (up to two years) to medium term (two to five years) and long term (more than five years). It also identifies State and Federal government funding sources as well as internal funding. The report tabled tonight said the replacement of the remaining 12 timber bridges within the region is expected to cost $7.95 million. Yesterday it was announced Council secured $2.93 million through the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Bridges Program.

 There was discussion about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and prevailing low interest rates on Council’s financial position with three separate financial reports tabled tonight. The 2020/2021 Quarterly Budget Review Statements (for the period ended 31 December, 2020) shows how “COVID-19 continues to have a detrimental impact” on Council’s ability to generate income and combined with the low return on Council investments will result in a forecast decline of $2.6 million in the unrestricted cash reserve. Tamworth Region Mayor Col Murray said Council remains in a sound financial position.

For more information, see the full reports at www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au/business-papers

Watch the video report here https://www.facebook.com/TamworthRegionalCouncil

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